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The Gap Year Blog

Frontier Environment News of the Week 22/10/2018

22 Oct 2018 15:30 PM

Photo Credit: Flickr | NOAA Photo Library

Investigations on corruption in the plastic recycling industry now ongoing 

Recycling industries that deal with exporting plastic to other countries are now facing investigations by the Environment Agency

The Environment Agency claims illegal profits are being gained from the market and possibly polluting UK rivers where the need for plastic exports is heavily decreasing. They hope to combat complaints that the industry has been abused by criminals and corrupt firms. 

Concerns have risen where excess plastic waste from the UK is reportedly being dumped in rivers and environmental habitats because the demand for recycled product exports has fallen.  

About two-thirds of all plastic waste such as plastic bottles and yoghurt pots is sent abroad to countries including China. 

The UK creates 11m tonnes of packaging a year, and the exported plastics can cost up to a massive £50m. The industry relies on companies to make declarations on the packaging they are exporting – creating the inconsistencies between national services and independent firms.  

The Environment Agency has confirmed that it is now pursuing an ongoing investigation into the export system and the intelligence-led team hopes to tackle the fraud. 

Italian fishery exposed of suffocating fish to death in filming

NGO Essere Animali has released a video showing the animal cruelty undergoing on an Italian fish farm which includes suffocating the fish to death through the process put on the animals.

In the EU, fish have no legal protections, unlike mammals which are protected by legislations.

The filming took place undercover in 2017 and 2018 and has been put together to show the extent of the European fish farms which even go as far as to forcefully hitting the fish to kill them.

Processes such as slow asphyxiation and forceful packing into small spaces were recorded by the NGO. Often fish undergo cruel procedures which leave them helplessly dying.

The new footage calls for a concern over animal welfare in the EU and Essere Animali has started a campaign to enforce a new system to ensure safer farming. 

Co-founder of Essere Animali, Claudio Pomo, told the Guardian, “Fish farms are simply underwater factory farms, but with more serious animal welfare problems.

““Scientists – and even the EU – have found that fish feel pain. Most European citizens agree with us that it is time to give them at least the basic rights that land animals have.”

Photo Credit: Flickr | Thomas Hawk

Super-sized mice killing millions of seabird chicks to extinction

Just on the South Atlantic, an Gough Island has seen a rising concern in the extreme growth of mice, who have been killing rare species and feeding on chicks.

The growth has been so detrimental that environmentalists have said that some rare species may face a threat of extinction because of these rodents.

Coming from a new study from the RSPB, the mice have developed their feed to eat eggs and chicks from the Island by adapting to their habitat.

Introduced in the 19th century, the mice were brought to the South Atlantic Island by sailors travelling to the country. They have now adapted and grown larger than the average mouse, and have learned to eat the chicks to stay alive.

The Tristan Albatross which lives on this island is likely to go extinct due to the threat of the mice, up to 50% bigger than the average

The study has shown a shocking discovery and has raised worries that the mice will kill off the species rare to the island. Just 2,000 pairs of the Tristan albatross remain on the Island. 

First Antarctic wildlife reserve backed by the UK government

Plans for the first ever Antarctic nature reserve have been supported by the UK government which hopes to endorse the sustainability of the wildlife and ocean. 

The sanctuary hopes to preserve the environment and if created, will make up the world’s biggest environmental reserve of over 1.8 square kilometres. 

Building a sanctuary will help reduce climate change problems by soaking up the carbon dioxide exerted from global warming if protecting the surrounding seas. 

Plans are proposing that the fishing in the area will be banned, and species such as penguins, leopard seals and whales should be safeguarded around the areas of the Weddell Sea and the Antarctic Peninsula.  Michael Gove, environmental secretary, spoke to the Guardian to explain his support in creation of the sanctuary. 

Decisions will be made by nations who are set up to protect the seas, making up the Commision for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. The nations will make the decision towards the end of October at a meeting in Hobart, Tasmania. 

Quick fire                                                          

  • 27,000 litres of food waste was dumped into the marine park of the Great Barrier Reef by a P&O Cruise ship this August  
  • Plastic straws and cotton buds could be banned within a year as UK MP Michael Gove claims that new environmental proposals hope to cut national pollution 
  • Deep sea cucumber also named the “headless chicken monster” has been filmed for the first time when Australian researchers captured the creature on film 
  • New development of hardy trees could help to reforest the Amazon as Peruvian scientists have found a new tree species  
  • Typhoons in Japan from extreme weather season have caused an environmental confusion where cherry trees have been tricked into an early bloom

By Caitlin Casey - Online Journalism Intern

Frontier runs terrestrial & marine conservation, community, teaching and adventure projects in over 50 countries - join us and explore the world!