Checking Out on Plastic 2: Breakthroughs and backtracking from supermarkets.

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) & Greenpeace UK full report.

In 2018, EIA and Greenpeace UK undertook the first comprehensive study to gain a better understanding of how UK supermarkets are planning to address the plastic pollution crisis. In 2019, on the second survey conducted by the EIA and Greenpeace UK reveals that little tangible progress has been made in the past year by the UK’s largest supermarkets towards reducing their use of throwaway plastics.

Did Ethiopia really plant around 4 billion trees this year to fight against deforestation?

According to some reports, Ethiopia has planted around 4 billion trees in this year only. This was done for their movement to save the planet from deforestation.

Around 23 million people participated in this great task as of the claim of the government. If this claim is to be believed, it seems very likely that they did accomplish this great feat. However, there hasn’t been any official announcement for the same.

The government of Ethiopia announced its plan to plant a massive number of trees, estimated to be worth 1 billion pounds. The highlight of the project though, was a single day of the month of July. They planted around 350 million trees on 29 July exceeding their initial target of 200 million. This was confirmed by the Innovation and Technology minister, Getahun Mekuria.

Tim Christophersen, who coordinates work on forests and climate change at the UN says about this achievement, “It is not impossible, but it would take a very well-organised effort.” So, it seems that it needed a lot of hard work and dedication to reach that target.

According to Ethiopias Minister for Water and Energy Seleshi Bekele, “We have reached both targets that we have set for ourselves. We have also learned a lot from this project in terms of agroforestry for the country.”

A spokesperson for the opposition Ezema party said after this great feat, “I personally don’t believe that we planted this much. It might be impossible to plant this many trees within a day.” This also implies a criticism to the government and many said that the project was just an eye-wash from the side of the government to hide the other major issues they are facing like ethnic conflicts.

The director of the UN environments Africa office Juliette Biao Koudenoukpo asked other nations to participate in this movement. He said, “Other African nations should move with speed and challenge the status quo.”

Although this tree plantation project has not been confirmed and yet to be verified by Guinness World Records. That is why it has been a matter of doubt for some people. According to a spokeswoman for the organisation Jessica Dawes, “We are always on the lookout for new record-breaking achievements, however, and so we would encourage the organisers of this event to get in touch with us to register an application.”

Some of the facts relevant to this topic are: “In 2016, 50 million trees were planted by more than 800,000 people in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. The record for the most trees planted in a day by one person, that's currently held by someone in Canada who planted 15,170 red pine seedlings in 2001”, According to reports.

“An organisation working on reforestation efforts in East Africa and helping farmers out of poverty, less than 4% of Ethiopia's land is forested, compared to around 30% at the end of the 19th century”, According to Farm Africa.

Irrespective of the numbers and the complete truth of the matter, it is very certain that there has been a lot of effort from the side of the Ethiopian government. There has been a lot of improvement in their forestry domain.

Leeds recycling scheme to be introduced in several other cities

#LeedsByExample, a recent recycling project. A report was released by Hubbub in which an expansion of the scheme is to be taken place soon regarding the Leeds recycling scheme. Two new cities, Swansea and Edinburgh have already been confirmed in the expansion list along with a third city which will be introduced next year.

It will contribute hugely to the development of the improvement of environmental awareness of the people and will impact achieving environmental goals.

Hubbub is planning to create this campaign to more and more locations to spread awareness for the UK’s recycling schemes’ development. The campaign has been carried out with the banner “In The Loop”.

This campaign will have the option of an app named We-Recycle available for smartphones. It will be helpful for people looking for the nearest recycling points. It will be done through the help of a map and will be using barcodes.

Gavin Ellis, The co-founder and director of Hubbub said, “The huge range of eye-catching recycling bins and communications throughout Leeds city centre will make it really easy for residents, workers and visitors to spot their nearest recycling point.”

He further added, “We’re interested to discover which of these will make the biggest difference and will share what we learn openly so that the most successful elements can be rolled out in Leeds and nationally. We’re also making sure that all of the recycling we collect will be processed in the UK as locally as possible.”

The managing director of Ecosurety James Piper said, “A major part of the campaign was to clamp down on contamination.” He explained, “We’re aware that contamination from food and drink has been a challenge in efforts to date to improve on-street recycling.”

Mr Piper further added, “The communications campaign running alongside the new recycling facilities is a critical part of #LeedsByExample and we hope this will dramatically reduce the level of contamination so that more of the waste collected can be recycled.”

The Executive member of Leeds City Council for the environment Mohammed Rafique said, “With this pilot, innovative technology and interventions will be tested across our city.”

He continued, “I’m encouraging as many local businesses and organisations as possible to get behind this project so that together we can make a real impact on recycling rates in Leeds city centre.”

Some good changes have been observed after the scheme was implemented. As of the reports, 186 recycling points have been established since #LeedsByExample project that is being used to collect cans, coffee cups and plastics. Moreover, only 17 per cent of the people were recycling the drinking and food packages previously. But now the number has increased to an outstanding 49 per cent.

According to reports, 1.2 million coffee cups have been recycled. Along with that around 140,000 cans and 160,000 plastic bottles have also been recycled.

This move to roll out the campaign throughout the UK is a quite amazing decision which will be helpful in the long run to keep the environment safe and plastic-free.

According to recent reports, around half a million hermit crabs were killed due to plastic pollution

Crabs mistake trash for shells that have influenced the increasing number of deaths of hermit crabs. This is the reason according to scientists.
Study says, more than a half-million of hermit crabs were killed because of being trapped in the huge pile of plastic wastes. The huge pile of plastic waste around the beaches of pacific and Indian oceans is to blame for this horrific situation.

Researchers from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (Imas) at the University of Tasmania, the Natural History Museum in London and the Two Hands Project which is a community science organisation carried out the research. They found one or two dead crabs in every square meter due to the plastic wastes.

According to the researchers, “The very mechanism that evolved to ensure hermit crabs could replace their shells, has resulted in a lethal lure.”

According to the pioneering study, “Around 508,000 crabs died on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands archipelago in the Indian Ocean, along with 61,000 on Henderson Island in the South Pacific.”

The research team searched for plastic containers and other plastic wastes around the Henderson and Cocos island. In one instance, they found a staggering 526 dead hermit crabs in a single container.

The situation gets worse because the crabs look for newly available shells from the recently deceased crabs. They try to track them down and eventually gets trapped in the plastic debris.

Dr Alex Bond is a senior curator at the Natural History Museum. He is also one of the report’s researchers. He described the situation, “The problem is quite insidious really because it only takes one crab.”

He continued, “Hermit crabs do not have a shell of their own, which means that when one of their compatriots die, they emit a chemical signal that says there’s a shell available, attracting more crabs… essentially it is this gruesome chain reaction.” He further added, “In the ocean, it entangles and is ingested by wildlife; on land, it acts as a trap, as we’ve seen, but can also be a physical barrier to species moving along the ground.”

The lead researcher Dr. Jennifer Lavers from the institute for marine and Antarctic studies at the University of Tasmania in Australia said, “High concentrations of debris are now being encountered on beaches around the world, many of which are also home to hermit crabs that can be expected to interact with plastic pollution in the same way as those we studied.”

She continues, “These results are shocking but perhaps not surprising.” She further added, “It is inevitable that these creatures will interact with and be affected by plastic pollution.”

Dr Bond says about the solution, “The solution is twofold”. He says, “The first is reducing our reliance on plastic in general. We can do some of that through, for example, using reusable drinking bottles. Equally a lot of these bottles that are already out in the ocean are a result of leaks in waste management systems. Secondly, we need to find those leaks and prevent that escape from proper waste management getting into the ocean.”