zoom The Great Pacific Garbage Patch contains as much as sixteen times more plastic than previously estimated, with pollution levels increasing exponentially.1.8 trillion pieces of plastic weighing 80,000 metric tons are currently afloat in the area which is rapidly growing, according to a three-year mapping effort conducted by an international team of scientists affiliated with The Ocean Cleanup Foundation, six universities and an aerial sensor company.The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP), located halfway between Hawaii and California, is the largest accumulation zone for ocean plastics on Earth. In order to analyze the full extent of the GPGP, the team conducted the most comprehensive sampling effort of the GPGP to date by crossing the debris field with 30 vessels simultaneously, supplemented by two aircraft surveys.Although most vessels were equipped with standard surface sampling nets, the fleet’s mothership RV Ocean Starr also trawled two six-meter-wide devices, which allowed the team to sample medium to largesized objects. To increase the surface area surveyed, and quantify the largest pieces of plastic a C-130 Hercules aircraft was fitted with advanced sensors to collect multispectral imagery and 3D scans of the ocean garbage. The fleet collected a total of 1.2 million plastic samples, while the aerial sensors scanned more than 300 km2 of ocean surface.The results reveal that the GPGP, defined as the area with more than 10 kg of plastic per km2, measures 1.6 million square kilometers, three times the size of continental France. These figures are four to sixteen times higher than previous estimates. 92% of the mass is represented by larger objects, while only 8% of the mass is contained in microplastics, defined as pieces smaller than 5 mm in size.“We were surprised by the amount of large plastic objects we encountered,” Dr. Julia Reisser, Chief Scientist of the expeditions, said, adding that they used to think most of the debris consists of small fragments.By comparing the amount of microplastics with historical measurements of the GPGP, the team found that plastic pollution levels within the GPGP have been growing exponentially since measurements began in the 1970s.“To be able to solve a problem, we believe it is essential to first understand it. These results provide us with key data to develop and test our cleanup technology, but it also underlines the urgency of dealing with the plastic pollution problem. Since the results indicate that the amount of hazardous microplastics is set to increase more than tenfold if left to fragment, the time to start is now,” Boyan Slat, Founder of The Ocean Cleanup and co-author of the study, concluded.
zoomIllustration. Image Courtesy: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license Brazilian miner giant Vale has requested for its long term voyage deals with Singapore-listed shipowner Pan Ocean to be revised down, trimming USD 1.3 billion from USD 5.8 billion* sales amount due to bunker fuel oil price.Pan Ocean said that the contracts in question date back to September 2009 and involve transportation of 238.4 million tons of iron ore from Brazil to China for a duration of 19 years. As disclosed, the said changes would not impact the company.“The existing terms and conditions regarding freight, cargo quantity, and the other contractual terms remain the same with no material impact to the company’s revenue,” Pan Ocean added.Revised contracts of affreightment were scheduled for issuance on December 31, 2018.The company said earlier it was bullish about the market prospects in 2019 as the demand growth is expected to outweigh fleet expansion.Pan Ocean has 17 ships on order, plus one option. These include 5 open hatch bulkers, six VLOCs, two loggers, two Ultramaxes + one option, and two 1,800 TEU containerships.*This article has been amended since its initial publishing as Pan Ocean subsequently corrected the original sales figures that were “inadvertently wrongly stated” in the regulatory filing issued on January 2.The changes made refer to figures disclosed in the original filing, where USD 53 billion has been replaced with USD 5.3 billion.
Macomb County lawmaker will serve as chief deputy majority caucus whipState Rep. Diana Farrington this week was named chief deputy majority caucus whip for the 2019-20 Michigan House legislative session.“I want to thank my Michigan House colleagues for selecting me for this important position,” said Rep. Farrington, of Utica. “I will continue to work hard with this new leadership position and look forward to what we can bring to the table next session.”As chief deputy whip, Rep. Farrington will help inform Republican caucus members of key issues on the House floor. She will also serve as a liaison between caucus leaders and members, keeping track of votes and assisting legislators with policy-related inquiries.Rep. Farrington currently serves as the chair of the House Financial Services Committee and is also a member of the committees on Energy, Health Policy, and Families, Children, and Seniors.##### 09Nov Rep. Farrington elected to House leadership position for 2019-20 Categories: Diana Farrington News,News
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