Day: June 15, 2020

From national parks to the deep sea, plastic pollution is showing up wherever scientists look

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

In 2017, Janice Brahney was examining dust that had blown across the wilderness of the Western United States to determine its nutrient composition. She slid her samples under a microscope, expecting to see the usual quartz and feldspar grains, pollen and random bug parts.

Instead, what leaped from the lens were candy-colored shards and spherules — blue, pink and red plastics mixed with the dust like foul confetti.

“I was really taken aback when I saw this,” said Brahney, an assistant professor of biogeochemistry at Utah State University. “I had no idea that our pollution had extended to that level.”

Sensing a potential discovery, Brahney, along with fellow researchers, started monitoring dust deposits in nearly a dozen protected areas in the West — places we tend to think of as relatively pristine, like Joshua Tree National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park and the Grand Canyon.

At each location, they found microplastics blown in on the breeze. In a study released Friday in the journal Science, they reveal just how much plastic is landing on protected areas in the West: more than 1,000 tons each year, equal to 123 million to 300 million pulverized plastic water bottles.

USDA FOG (Fats, Oils and Grease) Virtual Training 2020

The Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center (PPRC), through its Western States Alliance (WSA) program, is conducting virtual FOG Abatement trainings from June through November, 2020.

Without effective management, FOG is typically discharged to sanitary sewer systems by food service establishments (FSE), including restaurants, hospital and school cafeterias, food trucks, and others. Preventing these discharges avoids serious problems in the sewer system and at the POTW. This training aim to improve the management, operation and maintenance of wastewater conveyance systems and treatment and disposal facilities. 

The training is targeted toward small, rural communities; FOG technical assistance providers; pretreatment programs; restaurants; school cafeterias; public works maintenance personnel; brewery & winery managers; school officials; food and beverage manufacturers; and other food service establishments.

For more information and to view the complete training schedule, visit the Western States Alliance website or contact Krysta Thornton. Training sessions are listed by state to provide CEUs, but all are welcome to attend.

This training is made possible through a grant from the USDA’s Rural Development Office.

The Recycling Renaissance: How These Forbes Under 30s Plan To Transform Plastic Waste Into Detroit’s Greatest Asset

Read the full story in Forbes.

Though members of the Forbes Under 30 community won’t be able to physically convene in Detroit this year, they did gather remotely last weekend for Forbes’ first-ever virtual hackathon. The event kicked off a monthlong initiative, the Forbes Under 30 Detroit Hackathon: Accelerating Change, in partnership with the City of Detroit, Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans and Major League Hacking.

The hackathon focused on creating more equitable and sustainable supply chains in Detroit across four categories: plastic waste, food deserts, auto manufacturing and healthcare. After two days of intensive research, the recycling team landed on a novel concept: turning plastic refuse into “bricks” that could be used to construct new homes, playgrounds and roads. 

Washington State Department of Ecology completes first virtual lab assessment

Read the full post from the Washington State Department of Ecology.

Travel restrictions and a “shelter in place” order don’t negate the need for quality science. At Ecology, one of our most important goals is ensuring the validity of the data that comes from laboratories throughout the state. So, when members of our Laboratory Accreditation Unit (LAU) found themselves unable to get to labs due for audits, they found a way to bring the labs into their homes.

Migration is normal, accept it

Read the full book review in Nature.

Pull down the walls and assist those displaced by climate change, argues a book on the movement of people, animals and plants.

Sustainable Earth

A project of Arizona State University and funded by Wells Fargo, Sustainable Earth is a multi-media project focused on communicating sustainability to individuals and businesses. The site includes information on sustainable living, sustainable business, learning activities, and innovation.

The sustainable business section includes two complimentary micro-courses: Fundamentals of Organizational Sustainability and Fundamentals of the Circular Economy.

Great Lakes Moment: Investing in pollution prevention and restoration pays off

Read the full story at Great Lakes Now.

new study on cleaning up Great Lakes pollution hotspots published in the Journal of Great Lakes Research finds that investing in pollution prevention and restoration pays off in the long run.

Every flood drives destructive Asian carp further into North American waters

Read the full story at Massive Science.

Carp can starve out native fish by eating all their food supplies and taking over breeding grounds.

It’s time to rethink the disrupted US food system from the ground up

Read the full story at The Conversation.

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic shutdowns have severely disrupted and spotlighted weaknesses in the U.S. food system. Farmers, food distributors and government agencies are working to reconfigure supply chains so that food can get to where it’s needed. But there is a hidden, long-neglected dimension that should also be addressed as the nation rebuilds from the current crisis.

As scholars who study different aspects of soilnutrition and food systems, we’re concerned about a key vulnerability at the very foundation of the food system: soil. On farms and ranches across the U.S., the health of soil is seriously compromised today. Conventional farming practices have degraded it, and erosion has shorn away much of it.

Ocean data need a sea change to help navigate the warming world

Read the full story in Nature.

Open up, share and network information so that marine stewardship can mitigate climate change, overfishing and pollution.

%d bloggers like this: