Getting to the heart of the plastic problem

A ?ragpicker? on Mumbai?s shoreline, which is littered with plastic waste. AP PHOTO/RAFIQ MAQBOOL polution

As has been rightly pointed out in many articles here on Whaleoil, the problem of plastic in the oceans is not from New Zealand rivers but from 10 rivers, 8 of which are in Asia.

This post on the issue of plastic is written by Vijay Jayaraj, who lives in India. Quote.

I am in Southern India and there is plastic everywhere.

Last spring, my travel across Southern India took me to beautiful landscapes and interesting places.

But all those places had one thing in common. They were littered with plastic. From national parks to freeways, plastic bags of all colors were seen at every place imaginable. Read more »


The only pollution at Standing Rock was the trash left behind by environmentalists

Oh the irony, the only pollution at the Standing Rock protest site wasn’t from the oil pipeline, it is from the 2500 ute loads of rubbish the smelly hippies left behind.

Daily Wire reports:

Want to know the damage environmentalists can wreak on an area? Check out these new pictures from North Dakota, where environmentalists protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline left behind such a gargantuan mess near the Cannonball River that ABC News reported, ?Local and federal officials estimate there’s enough trash and debris in the camp to fill about 2,500 pickup trucks.? Those trucks will have to haul the trash? away before the spring thaw, when it will pollute the Missouri River and other waterways.

On Wednesday, Morton County Emergency Manager Tom Doering admitted, ?We?re really fighting the clock. There?s more garbage down there than anybody anticipated.? George Kuntz, vice president of the North Dakota Towing Association, told Western Wire:

There are roughly 200 vehicles down there at last count, ranging from cars and pickups to rental trucks. We?re going to have a very drastic situation trying to keep these vehicles from getting into the river ? what everybody?s been trying to protect from day one. We can?t leave them there. We don?t know what kind of biohazard is going to be produced with all the fluids or any other garbage that?s inside the vehicle.

Read more »

King Salmon farm relocation plan a poor solution to ecological devastation

If the proposal goes ahead, Minister Nathan Guy will recommend new regulations be created under s360A of the Resource Management Act enabling the farms to be relocated into areas where farming is currently prohibited.

King Salmon would still have to apply to the council to create the farms, but the usual resource management process, with public notifications and hearings, would not be followed.

Council environment committee chairman David Oddie declined to comment on how the salmon farm issues were being handled, as it was a Central Government matter.

A planning, finance and committee meeting would be held next week and Oddie believed the council would discuss its approach to the MPI proposal then.

When asked why the proposal was released this year, MPI director of economic development Luke Southorn said MPI, the council and community had developed best-practice guidelines for the salmon farms which they wanted to implement as soon as possible.

Three existing farms in low-flow areas were failing to meet best-practice standards, and three others were predicted to have issues meeting those standards in the future.

The sea floor directly under and around the farms are unrecognisable when compared to the same sea floor where there are no salmon farms. ?Just because we can’t see it doesn’t mean?we can’t be upset and disgusted. ?? Read more »

Another environmentalist lie busted

Remember the shock, horror announcements about a supposed island of plastic in the middle of the Pacific ocean?

All bullshit. Now it’s been busted as a lie and a myth.

The ?Great Pacific Garbage Patch? has been billed as a floating island of plastic debris, stretching out across an area of ocean the size of India, a testament to man?s abuse of the planet.

So when images emerged from the first aerial survey of the area they proved somewhat underwhelming.

Far from showing a vast swathe of plastic containers, fishing nets and rubbish, the detritus was seen to be scattered over a wide area, with just 1,000 large objects discovered in a survey of thousands of square miles.

Although The Ocean Cleanup, the charity who carried out the sweep, claimed that they had found more plastic than was expected, other experts said the ?garbage patch? was a myth which had never been substantiated by any proper scientific research and risked diverting attention from the real problem ? a dangerous build of microplastics in the area.? Read more »

Message in a plastic bottle story attacked by keyboard warriors


Courtney Stevenson’s message in a bottle from 1995 has washed ashore in the Chatham Islands. MOLLY GOMEZ

It was a lovely simple story of a message in a bottle thrown into the ocean at Shelly Beach in Picton by an 8-year old girl,Courtney Stevenson 21 years ago.It turned up about 830 kilometres away in the Chatham Islands.The man who found it managed to make contact with the writer despite portions of the message being damaged. All in all, it was a simple but interesting story because what child hasn’t wanted to send or find a message in a bottle?

It is not the kind of story that you would expect to attract negative comments or nasty keyboard warriors but it turns out that the bottle being plastic was controversial.

Read more »

Maori should adopt this idea quick smart

Bathing in the holy waters of the Ganges.

Bathing in the holy waters of the Ganges.

Maybe this is why Maori are making a play to control water?

The Indian government believes it has found a new revenue source: It will bottle and sell water from the holy, and filthy, Ganges River online.

For years the government has been racking its brains to save the national post office given email, mobile phones and courier services have almost killed letter delivery revenues.

The plan is to sell water from the holy river through a government portal to Hindus who can have a bottle of Gangajal (Hindus call the Ganges “Ganga” and “jal” is water) delivered to their homes by the postman. ? Read more »


If Big Tobacco pays for pollution, where do we stop?

Local anti-smoking lobby group wants new laws to force tobacco companies to take responsibility for the environmental damage done by millions of discarded cigarette butts.

An academic piece published by US researchers in the Tobacco Control Journal says tobacco companies should be responsible for the environmental problems created by trillions of discarded butts in much the same way the pesticide, paint and pharmaceutical industries are.

It says cigarettes contain 7000 chemicals – many toxic to humans and animals – and filters are usually made of non-biodegradable cellulose acetate.
“When smokers discard their butts into the surrounding environment, they may not realise they collectively leave behind them a huge carbon footprint perhaps two- to four- trillion non-biodegradable butts each year around the world,” said Smokefree Coalition executive director Prudence Stone.

The coalition backed the US authors’ view that tobacco’s corporate accountability wasn’t working and new laws were needed to hold the companies to account, not just for the pollution caused by butts but also the harm done by growing, manufacturing, shipping and distributing tobacco products. Read more »

Surely the Chief Justice should follow the law?

You’d think if you were the Chief Justice you’d make sure that any enterprise that you were a shareholder/owner of would be following the law…not in this country though.

A South Island farm owned by Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias has been complained about before, with witnesses describing repeated incidents of cattle and sheep wading in lakes.

A past complainant described the farmer as “riding roughshod” over the concerns of other people using the area, and witnessed a “disturbing amount of cow s…” in another lake at the property.

Holidaymaker Allan Brown photographed cattle drinking in Lake Taylor, about 50 kilometres northwest of Hawarden, last week. He had since lodged a complaint with Environment Canterbury (ECan).

His picture, which had been widely shared online, showed the animals were on Lakes Station land.

Elias and her businessman husband, Hugh Fletcher, were the majority owners?of the 5000-hectare high country farm.

Fletcher told RNZ he let the cows into the lake on hot days, but their access was not continuous. ? Read more »

The Press on Water Quality

Yesterday the Press editorial was scathing about water quality.

New Zealanders cannot stand by while our rivers become so polluted we can no longer swim in them.

This week The Press reported that the number of Canterbury rivers safe for swimming has reached its lowest point in at least five years. Now, nearly one-third of the monitoring sites on Canterbury rivers have been deemed unsafe to swim in, according to Environment Canterbury (ECan). This compares with five years ago when one in four sites were considered unsafe for swimming.

Now, some of our most popular swimming and camping spots such as Coes Ford are blighted by a toxic algae which can cause rashes, nausea, and numbness. It can be fatal to dogs and other animals. The warm summer expected with El Nino is only likely to see the situation worsen.

Depressingly, in 2010, ECan’s new commissioners – brought in after elected members were sacked due to failings in water management – set as one of their goals improving the swimmability of the region’s rivers.

Yet under these commissioners, river quality has worsened. Sites along the Waimakariri, Hurunui, Selwyn and Ashburton rivers are rated “poor” or “very poor”.

Dairy farming is often fingered as a prime contributor to water pollution. ?And with good reason. ?? Read more »

Dirty, polluting, recidivist pig farmer having a sook over a fine

A dirty, polluting, recidivist pig farmer is having a sook over copping a $65,000 fine for unauthorised dumping of his pig poo.

So what do they do? Roll out the tears, shill the story to media and bring up a sick toddler…

A Te Aroha farming family, struggling to care for a sick toddler, claims it has no way to pay a $65,000 fine handed down by a judge for illegally dumping pig poo.

Environment Court Judge Jeffrey Smith ruled Kenneth Julian McIntyre deliberately defied a court order against him dumping effluent at a Te Aroha piggery and issued the fine, as well as a five-year ban from managing animal effluent.

The court heard McIntyre spread 340,000 cubic metres, or six truckloads of pig poo across the 800 hectare property.

McIntyre ?and his partner Cassandra Kidd have a 15-month old son who was born with a severe medical condition and has had multiple complex surgeries since birth.

In making his decision, Smith said it was important that McIntyre was around to focus on the needs of his son and partner. ?? Read more »