Here’s a great initiative by Martin Wagner and Lesley Henderson to fact-check plastic pollution factoids: Which ones are fact, and which ones myth? Find out in the Google Doc “An inventory of factoids and myths on plastic pollution and microplastics”
Chris Jordan has taken some of the most iconic pictures to shape our image of plastic pollution. He traveled to Midway Island on his quest to photograph the evasive “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”, which is really a soup of microplastics. There, he documented albatross chicks who had died with their guts full of plastic. His images went viral, but they also haunted him so much that he decided to return to the island. Continue reading “Ep.5: Message from Midway”
In 2018, media attention on plastic pollution skyrocketed. The United Nations dedicated their Environment Day to #BeatPlasticPollution, and National Geographic magazine put the issue on the cover and launched the #PlanetOrPlastic campaign. Here are my picks from the huge amount of reporting this year – fresh and insightful articles, podcasts and fact-checks that truly stood out.
Continue reading “Best of 2018”
Plastic pollution might be the most visible environmental issue we face today. But there are other kinds of pollution, and they are far harder to see. One of the most dangerous is the huge amount of greenhouse gases that we emit into the atmosphere. In this episode, Anja explores the connections between plastic pollution and climate change. Continue reading “Ep.4: Plastic vs. the Climate?”
Anja calls up Dr. Jenna Jambeck and Amy Brooks from the University of Georgia on a research trip in Vietnam. In many Asian countries, a booming economy is coupled with more people using throw-away items. Informal recyclers and waste pickers who have traditionally sorted the waste cannot keep up. But, like millions of people around the world, they depend on waste as a resource for their livelihoods. How can the systems be reformed without leaving the people behind? To find out, Anja calls Dr. Sonia Maria Dias, a garbologist from Brazil. Continue reading “Ep.3: Waste picker economies”
Alexandra ter Halle led the first study that detected nanoplastic in the open ocean. Take a lab tour with her in episode 2.
In this episode of the Plastisphere, Anja goes on a lab tour with Alexandra ter Halle from Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse. The chemist and her team were the first to detect nanoplastic in the open ocean – plastic so small that it is comparable in size to a virus. What do we know about these very tiny pieces, and how do researchers try to detect and understand them? Continue reading “Ep.2: Plastic, the size of a virus”
Linda Amaral Zettler and her colleagues found something quite amazing: The plastic in the ocean is teeming with life – a microbial world she calls the „plastisphere”. Some of these microbes even seem to be munching plastic – or are they? Meet her in episode 1
Plastic in the ocean is a bit like an exoplanet, Erik Zettler of the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research says. It’s a new environment, and we know very little about it. What kind of ecosystems will develop on these new tiny plastic planets, and how will that change things? From episode 1 of the podcast.
In this introduction to the Plastisphere podcast, Anja takes the listener on a journey back in time, from a remote plastic beach on the Big Island of Hawaii to the factory of a big chemical producer making bioplastics. She shares what she has learned about the issue of plastic pollution in the past years. Continue reading “Ep.1: Welcome to the Plastisphere”
Marine biologist Megan Lamson of the Hawaii Wildlife Fund on Kamilo Beach in episode 1
Plastic has become the basis of our modern lives. And yet, it threatens ecosystems as well as our own well-being. Will we be able to develop a healthy relationship to the materials that we’ve created?
Plastisphere is an independent podcast by German science journalist Anja Krieger. It follows the complex relationships between us humans and our plastic world.