Posts Tagged ‘Sea trash’

Trash harbouring in Honolulu

Friday, January 15, 2010

International trash transit seems to have run into some government bureaucracy this week, according to a piece in The Daily News. Apparently, trash shipments from Hawaii to Washington, over the Columbia River, have been suspended due to the need for an environmental assessment plan, including a 30-day public comment. Transports have up until now gone over road and rail, and with the change in transportation mode, regulations kick in. I.e., if you are a reader of and live in the area, you should be interested and here’s a golden opportunity.

While the imports of Hawaiian Waste Systems (based in Seattle) are on hold, trash that hoped to float along the North Pacific Ocean are stacking up in Honolulu docks. Several hundreds of tonnes of trash bales are posing a health threat, says Hawaiian officials. On the other hand, if one trusts a news piece from The Seattle Times written in June 2008, explaining the intended process, it seems as if the risk is minimal.  In any case, the bales are likely to sit around for another two months or so, while the wheel of bureaucracy keep on turning.

Trash waters

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

For those who can’t get enough of shock in the face of the plastic et al. that floats around in our seas, I highly recommend the UN Environment Programme’s recent report Marine Litter – A Global Challenge. The report spells it all out pretty clearly – there’s trash in all our seas. We don’t know how much it is, or exactly how damaging it is, but we know that it’s terrible.

The report makes a number of recommendations, such as the ever needed raised awareness (garbloggers 4-ever!), but the significant components if you ask me are spelled enforced legislation and incentives not to dump in the sea (or the rivers that flow out to sea). Enforcement is not only punishment though, its also about preventive measures, such as ship and industry control. I. e., governments must step in and force the private sector to behave when the invisible hand fails to do so.

Lastly, a new lovely abbreviation (actually a combination of two): The NOWPAP MALITA (The North West Pacific Marine Litter Activity).

Fishing trash bad for fish

Friday, May 15, 2009

While fishing as such is an agricultural practice with the ultimate goal of catching and killing fish, i.e. not fantastic for fish to begin with, fishing gear dumped at the bottom of lakes and oceans are killing fish even after the actual fishing stops, says a UN report.

Photographer: Jane Dermer, Carpentaria Ghost Nets,

Photographer: Jane Dermer, Carpentaria Ghost Nets,

Apparently, discarded fishing gear compromises about 10%, or 640 000 tonnes,  of all sea trash, creating a situation of so-called “ghost fishing”, when innocent maritime  denizens happily enjoying off-season swim into discarded nets and related rubble, ending their lives in highest indignity. In the report, several pressures on fishers are named as contributing to this terrible situation, namely

Enforcement pressure causing those operating illegally to abandon gear; operational
and weather making it more likely that gear will be left or discarded; economic pressure leading to dumping of unwanted fishing gear at sea rather than disposal onshore; and spatial pressures resulting in the loss or damage of gear through gear conflicts. Indirect causes include the unavailability of onshore waste disposal facilities, as well as their accessibility and cost of use.

As seen, fishing trash management isn’t working out that well. The report suggests preventive efforts and says that mitigation is crucial, etc. We could also just stop fishing, but while poverty exists, one might need to recognize that’s not a very realistic scenario.

Lastly, extracurricular nerd info: The report teaches us a new acronym; ALDFG (Abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear)!

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