Scientists on a seven-month circumnavigation in the Arctic Ocean have found that its once-untouched waters are now polluted with billions of pieces of plastic. This is another troubling discovery even as the world struggles to deal with the ongoing problem of plastic pollution. Despite a lack of nearby pollution sources, scientists noted a “high concentration” of plastics accumulating in the Greenland and Barents seas, both located in the Arctic. In a paper published in the journal Science Advances, the scientists noted that ocean circulation systems have not only brought warm waters from the North Atlantic northward, it has also brought buoyant plastic waste as well, leading to the accumulation. Scientists are now calling the region a “dead end” for plastic waste, due to the landmasses and polar ice caps in the area. They collected data starting in 2013, during a circumpolar expedition aboard the research vessel Tara.
– “Mystery as scores of dead rare sea animals wash up” in Gulf of California — AP: Dozens of carcasses found on beaches and floating in water — Gov’t experts ‘baffled’ over mass death of dolphins, sea lions, turtles — “Long stretch of coastline closed off to public” (PHOTOS):
AP, Oct 15, 2015 (emphasis added): Mexican authorities are investigating the deaths of 36 marine animals that washed up on an island in the Gulf of California. The federal environmental prosecutor’s office says in a statement Thursday that 21 dolphins, 4 sea lions and 11 sea turtles were discovered at Altamura Island… decomposing remains were found on the beaches and floating in the water… The private island [has] dunes stretching some 12 miles… it’s rare to find so many at one time. Authorities are seeking to determine the cause of death and avoid possible health threats…
AFP, Oct 15, 2015: Four sea lions, 11 sea turtles and 21 dolphins have mysteriously turned up dead on an island in northwestern Mexico, sparking an investigation, authorities said Thursday. [The federal prosecutor’s office for environmental protection] said in a statement that inspectors, park rangers and other experts were dispatched… to investigate the “unusual event.” They will collect evidence to figure out how the animals died, the statement said.
The Sun, Oct 16, 2015: Mystery as scores of dead rare sea animals wash up on stretch of coastline — A long stretch of coastline has been closed off to the public after the corpses of dozens of rare sea animals washed up on the beach. Mystery surrounds the sudden influx of dead marine life… Since none of the creatures appeared cut or marked, it has been ruled out that the animals died after being caught up in fishermen’s nets. There’s growing concern over what has caused the tragedy… Mexico’s Federal Environmental Protection Agency, Profepa, has activated a security protocol and tourists have been warned not to use the beaches while the water is being tested for signs of pollution and other evidence is collected. A [gov’t] spokesman said: “We will be looking at what species are affected, their condition, size, age, physical appearance, nutritional state, health, visible traumas, the time and date, climacteric conditions, state of the sea, topography of the beach and accessibility of the area.”
The Express, Oct 19, 2015: Marine experts are trying to unravel an animal tragedy after dozens of dead animals, including 21 dolphins, mysteriously washed up on a beach. Horrific images from the tragic scene showed the lifeless bodies of dolphins, turtles and even sea lions scattered across the shore… Some had been washed ashore but others were simply floating in the water…
Daily Mail, Oct 19, 2015: Plague of dead sea animals killed by mystery illness wash up on a beach in Mexico… Experts have been left baffled after dozens of dead animals washed up… Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) are now investigating whether pollution is to blame for the deaths… A spokesman for FEPA said… marine biologists were baffled about the cause of the mysterious deaths.
Daily Star, Oct 17, 2015: Marine experts have been left baffled after the corpses of 21 dolphins were found washed up on a beach in Mexico… It is believed a mystery illness may have been the cause of death for the dozens of animals… [FEPA] confirmed there are no clues to suggest what may have caused the bizarre deaths.
El Daily Post, Oct 15, 2015: Why did 36 sea mammals wash up on a Sea of Cortés island?… it’s not uncommon for the body of a sea mammal to wash up on shore. But when 36 dolphins, sea turtles and sea lions are found decomposing on one island at the same time, something out of the ordinary is going on… seldom are so many found washed up at the same time… In such mass deaths, Profepa officials activate a protocol designed to discover the causes of the event as well as protect nearby people and animals from health consequences.
– US Gov’t: “We don’t know what’s going on” in Pacific — Many ill baby seals being abandoned; Dozens of walruses found dead; Dying whales, birds, fish — “Unprecedented things happening” — Experts: “It’s been a very unusual marine mammal year… I’m really worried, very concerned” (AUDIO) (ENENews, Aug 7, 2015):
Alaska Dispatch News, Jul 24, 2015 (emphasis added): Ailing seal pup rescued in latest discovery of distressed Alaska marine mammals … one of a string of marine mammals injured or killed in Alaska waters this year. An orphaned and injured seal pup… was one of several found this summer, federal agency officials said… The pup was lethargic and very thin — only 16.5 pounds… It was the second such case this week, NOAA spokeswoman Julie Speegle said Friday. An orphaned seal was picked up in Metlakatla… NOAA officials were also called out to another case in Yakutat recently, she said. “We don’t know what’s going on in the environment, but it does seem to be an unusual year,” Speegle said. Seal pups are not the only marine mammals experiencing some difficulty in waters off Alaska. NOAA and the University of Alaska Fairbanks are conducting an investigation into the deaths of 14 whales… U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been investigating the deaths of approximately 25 walruses found in the area of the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge… Carrie Goertz, a staff veterinarian at the SeaLife Center, said… she agreed that there have been some out-of-the-ordinary events with marine mammals in general. “There’s definitely been some clusters of unusual deaths,” she said.
– CNN: Fukushima fallout ‘grossly underestimated’ says new Japan study — “Radioactive poison… contaminating the North Pacific Ocean” — Tepco: ‘Impossible’ to know how much really got out (VIDEO) (ENENews, May 23, 2014):
CNN, May 21, 2014: […] This is my first time visiting one of the most dangerous places on earth. […] the highly contaminated “red zone” […] remains a desolate wasteland […] Impact underestimated? The true scope of the contamination is a subject of debate, with a research team from Fukushima University recently releasing a study that claims [TEPCO] grossly underestimated the amount of radioactive poison cesium-137 released into the environment. Exposure can heighten the risk of cancer. […] TEPCO acknowledges it’s impossible to know for sure how much cesium was released […] Researchers told me they don’t believe the risk extends far beyond Japan and the North Pacific Ocean, even though small traces of radioactive ocean water have been detected as far away as Canada.