Marine debris surveys at Bird Island, South Georgia 1990-1995

Author: Tony R. Walker, Keith Reid, John P.Y. Arnould, John P. Croxall
Year of Publication: 2017
Published: Marine Pollution Bulletin. 34(1): 61-65

Abstract:
The Antarctic marine environment has relatively few direct sources of man-made marine debris; however, there is concern over the dangers posed to wildlife by increasing amounts of such debris. Between 1990 and 1995 beached debris was monitored at Bird Island, South Georgia. This was part of a programme developed by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) to monitor compliance with waste disposal under MARPOL and the effectiveness of additional regulations to reduce entanglement of marine mammals and birds. Overall, and in all but one year, the highest incidence of debris occurred during the winter months when 75% of all items were collected. The most numerous category overall (76%), and in all samples since 1991, was pieces of synthetic line as used in the long-line fishery for the Patagonian toothfish Dissostichus eleginoides around South Georgia. Packaging bands (6%) and polythene bags (6%) were the next commonest items. There was a substantial increase in the number of items found ashore in 1995 which coincided with an apparent increase in the long-line fishing effort in the area. The increase in the incidence of synthetic line found ashore corresponds to the increase in the proportion of Antarctic fur seal Arctocephalus gazella entangled in this material at South Georgia in a parallel study. An increasing use of environmentally-aware scientific observers on all fishing vessels, leading to an increased awareness of existing legislation, should result in less man-made debris entering the marine environment in the area around South Georgia.

Keywords:
Marine debris, South Georgia, long-line fishery, Synthetic line, Packaging bands, CCAMLR

Citation:
Walker, T.R., Reid, K., Arnould, J.P.Y., Croxall, J.P. (1997) Marine debris surveys at Bird Island, South Georgia 1990-1995. Marine Pollution Bulletin 34(1): 61-65.

Link:
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X96000537

Accumulation of marine debris on an intertidal beach in an urban park (Halifax Harbour, Nova Scotia)

Author: Tony R. Walker, Jon Grant, Marie-Claude Archambault
Year of Publication: 2006
Published: Water Quality Research Journal of Canada 41(3): 256-262

Abstract:
This study evaluated monthly accumulation rates and types of marine debris washed ashore at a recreational beach in Point Pleasant Park, Halifax Harbour, between April and September 2005. Black Rock Beach is 70 m long and a total of 2129 marine debris items were collected and sorted, representing a mean accumulation rate of 355 (±68 SE) items month-1. The total weight of debris items was only 10.8 kg (mean 2 kg ±0.4 SE), however eighty-six percent of this debris was plastic material. The types of litter found included: tampon applicators, condoms (i.e., sewage-related debris [SRD]); plastic fast food packaging, confectionary wrappers, Styrofoam fragments, plastic bottles and caps, items of clothing, soft drink cans, cigarettes and cigarette holders (i.e., recreational or land-based debris); packing bands, nylon rope and nets (i.e., shipping- or fishing-related debris). These items were generated by recreational use of the park (52%), sewage disposal (14%) and from shipping and fishing activities (7%). It is suggested that a significant reduction in marine debris at recreational beaches may arise by improving public awareness of the environmental and aesthetic impacts of marine litter and future improvements to the municipal sewage disposal system.

Keywords:
Nova Scotia, Marine debris, Plastic debris, Sewage disposal, Public beaches

Citation:
Walker, T.R., Grant, J., Archambault, M-C., 2006. Accumulation of marine debris on an intertidal beach in an urban park (Halifax Harbour, Nova Scotia). Water Quality Research Journal of Canada 41(3): 256-262.

Link:
https://iwaponline.com/wqrj/article-abstract/41/3/256/39831

A Canadian policy framework to mitigate plastic marine pollution

Author: Shauna Pettipas, Meagan Bernier, Tony R. Walker
Year of Publication: 2016
Published: Marine Policy 68: 117-122

Abstract:
Marine pollution from plastic debris is a global problem causing negative impacts in the marine environment. Plastic marine debris as a contaminant is increasing, especially in Canada. While the impacts of macroplastics are well known in the literature, there are relatively few policy studies related to mitigating microplastic toxicity in the environment. Despite overwhelming evidence of the threat of plastic in the marine environment, there remains inadequate or limited policies to address their mitigation, particularly microplastic debris. Existing policies for waste management, marine debris monitoring and awareness campaigns were evaluated from other jurisdictions. Policies and recommendations were developed for the Canadian context. Recommendations include improved practices for: (1) law and waste management strategies; (2) education, outreach and awareness; (3) source identification; and (4) increased monitoring and further research.

Keywords:
Plastic marine debris, Macro- and microplastic pollution, Waste management, Monitoring, Mitigation

Citation:
Pettipas, S., Bernier, M., Walker, T.R., 2016. A Canadian policy framework to mitigate plastic marine pollution. Marine Policy 68: 117-122. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2016.02.025.

Link: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308597X16300665

International policies to reduce plastic marine pollution from single-use plastics (plastic bags and microbeads): A review

Author: Dirk Xanthos, Tony R. Walker
Year of Publication: 2017
Published: Marine Pollution Bulletin. 118(1-2): 17-26

Abstract:
Marine plastic pollution has been a growing concern for decades. Single-use plastics (plastic bags and microbeads) are a significant source of this pollution. Although research outlining environmental, social, and economic impacts of marine plastic pollution is growing, few studies have examined policy and legislative tools to reduce plastic pollution, particularly single-use plastics (plastic bags and microbeads). This paper reviews current international market-based strategies and policies to reduce plastic bags and microbeads. While policies to reduce microbeads began in 2014, interventions for plastic bags began much earlier in 1991. However, few studies have documented or measured the effectiveness of these reduction strategies. Recommendations to further reduce single-use plastic marine pollution include: (i) research to evaluate effectiveness of bans and levies to ensure policies are having positive impacts on marine environments; and (ii) education and outreach to reduce consumption of plastic bags and microbeads at source.

Keywords:
Single-use plastics, Microbeads, Plastic bags, Policies, Plastic marine pollution

Citation:
Xanthos, D., Walker, T.R., 2017. International policies to reduce plastic marine pollution from single-use plastics (plastic bags and microbeads): A review. Marine Pollution Bulletin. 118(1-2): 17-26. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.02.048.

Link:
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X17301650

A call for Canada to move toward zero plastic waste by reducing and recycling single-use plastics

Author: Tony R. Walker, Dirk Xanthos
Year of Publication: 2018
Published: Resources, Conservation & Recycling 133: 99-10

Keywords:
Single-use plastics, Zero plastic waste, Circular economy, Bans

Citation:
Walker, T.R., Xanthos, D., 2018. A call for Canada to move toward zero plastic waste by reducing and recycling single-use plastics. Resources, Conservation & Recycling 133: 99-100. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resconrec.2018.02.014.

Link:
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921344918300612

Are exports of recyclables from developed to developing countries waste pollution transfer or part of the global circular economy?

Author: Zhe Liu, Michelle Adams, Tony R. Walker
Year of Publication: 2018
Published: Resources, Conservation and Recycling 136: 22-23

Abstract:
CE has benefitted the global economy for years, including China. For example, developed countries benefitted from cost savings associated with exporting waste to China where there were less stringent Chinese environmental laws, but developed countries failed to incorporate true environmental costs. China also benefitted by importing recyclable waste to supplement its domestic manufacturing industries, yet imported plastic waste was considered inferior, and often unusable (i.e., generating more waste), compared to domestic waste by China’s manufacturing industries. In future, the key will be to establish fair-trading systems for waste reutilization across countries globally to reduce waste generation. Firstly, we argue that to reduce waste generation in developed countries, reduced consumption is imperative, since current per capita waste generation in developed countries is much higher than in developing countries. Developed countries, like Canada, need to adopt zero plastic waste strategies by reducing and recycling single-use plastics (Walker and Xanthos, 2018). Secondly, developed countries need to help developing countries deal with their environmental issues, caused by waste reutilization, by transferring waste management and recycling technologies, investing in R&D and training local employees to mitigate potential environmental risks. Thirdly, from a global perspective, implementing extended producer responsibility (EPR) systems across developed and developing countries to help reshape and rebalance the global CE should be undertaken.

Keywords:
Circular economy (CE), Solid waste management, Waste recycling, Waste reutilization, Extended producer responsibility (EPR)

Citation:
Liu, Z., Adams, M., Walker, T.R., 2018. Are exports of recyclables from developed to developing countries waste pollution transfer or part of the global circular economy? Resources, Conservation and Recycling 136: 22-23. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resconrec.2018.04.005.

Link:
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921344918301368

Reducing marine pollution from single-use plastics (SUPs): A review

Author: Riley E.J. Schnurr Vanessa Alboiu, Meenakshi Chaudhary, Roan A. Corbett, Meaghan E. Quanz, Karthikeshwar Sankar, Harveer S. Srain, Venukasan Thavarajah, Dirk Xanthos, Tony R. Walker
Year of Publication: 2018
Published: Marine Pollution Bulletin 137: 157-171

Abstract:
Single-use plastics, or SUPs (plastic bags, microbeads, cutlery, straws and polystyrene) are substantial sources of plastic marine pollution, yet preventable via legislative and non-legislative interventions. Various international legislative strategies have been reported to address plastic marine pollution from plastic bags and microbeads, but these have since been accompanied by recent increasing public awareness triggered by international agencies and organizations. The Sixth International Marine Debris Conference highlighted increasing intervention strategies to mitigate SUP pollution. This study presents new multi-jurisdictional legislative interventions to reduce SUPs since 2017 and incorporates emergence of new non-legislative interventions to mitigate other types of SUPs at individual and private-sector levels that complement or influence legislative interventions. Further, effectiveness of SUP bag interventions (e.g., bans vs. levies) to help reduce SUP marine pollution are presented and range between 33 and 96% reduction in bag use.

Keywords:
Plastic marine pollution, Single-use plastics (SUPs), Polystyrene, Plastic straws, Plastic cutlery, Legislative and non-legislative interventions

Citation:
Schnurr, R.E.J., Alboiu, V., Chaudhary, M., Corbett, R.A., Quanz, M.E., Sankar, K., Srain, H.S., Thavarajah, V., Xanthos, D., Walker, T.R., 2018. Reducing marine pollution from single-use plastics (SUPs): A review. Marine Pollution Bulletin 137: 157-171. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2018.10.001.

Link:
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X18307033

Occurrence, sources, human health impacts and mitigation of microplastic pollution

Author: Samaneh Karbalaei, Parichehr Hanachi, Tony R. Walker, Matthew Cole
Year of Publication: 2018
Published: Environmental Science and Pollution Research 25(36): 36046–36063

Abstract:
The presence and accumulation of plastic and microplastic (MP) debris in the natural environment is of increasing concern and has become the focus of attention for many researchers. Plastic debris is a prolific, long-lived pollutant that is highly resistant to environmental degradation, readily adheres hydrophobic persistent organic pollutants and is linked to morbidity and mortality in numerous aquatic organisms. The prevalence of MPs within the natural environment is a symptom of continuous and rapid growth in synthetic plastic production and mismanagement of plastic waste. Many terrestrial and marine-based processes, including domestic and industrial drainage, maritime activities agricultural runoff and wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) effluent, contribute to MP pollution in aquatic environments. MPs have been identified in food consumed by human and in air samples, and exposure to MPs via ingestion or inhalation could lead to adverse human health effects. Regulations in many countries have already been established or will soon be implemented to reduce MPs in aquatic environments. This review focuses on the occurrence, sources, and transport of MPs in terrestrial and aquatic environments to highlight potential human health effects, and applicable regulations to mitigate impacts of MPs. This study also highlights the importance of personality traits and cognitive ability in reducing the entry of MPs into the environment.

Keywords:
Microplastics, Microfibers, Marine freshwater and terrestrial microplastics, Controlling sources of microplastics

Citation:
Karbalaei, S., Hanachi, P., Walker, T.R., Cole, M., 2018. Occurrence, sources, human health impacts and mitigation of microplastic pollution. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 25(36): 36046–36063. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s1135.

Link:
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11356-018-3508-7

China’s ban on imported plastic waste could be a game changer (online). China’s ban could curb plastic waste (print)

Author: Tony R. Walker
Year of Publication: 2018
Published: Nature 553(7689)

Abstract:
China’s ban on imports of recycled plastic from developed countries takes effect this month. It could be a game changer if it weans us off plastic and forces us to seek sustainable alternatives. With no suitable strategies in place for dealing with this extra unexpected plastic, countries must quickly devise and implement alternative waste-management solutions (see also C. M. Rochman et al. Nature 494, 169–171; 2013). Many jurisdictions have legislation that prohibits dumping of plastic waste into landfill. And stockpiling plastic refuse is ill-advised, given the fire risk at storage sites (see, for example, go.nature.com/2dh3mbg). Moves to change consumer behaviour and implement strategies to cut plastic usage are gaining momentum. International policies and financial disincentives to curb the proliferation of single-use plastics (plastic bags and microbeads) are already showing positive results (D. Xanthos and T. R. Walker Mar. Pollut. Bull. 118, 17–26; 2017). These should be extended to include a ban on other items such as plastic drinking straws, and by widely introducing deposit-and-return schemes for plastic bottles.

Keywords:
China, Imported plastic waste, Ban

Citation:
Walker, T.R., 2018. China’s ban on imported plastic waste could be a game changer (online). China’s ban could curb plastic waste (print). Nature 553(7689): 405-405. DOI: 10.1038/d41586-018-00933-6.

Link:
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-00933-6