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      Reducing Plastic Waste by Visualizing Marine Consequences

      1 , 2 , 3 , 1
      Environment and Behavior
      SAGE Publications

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          Abstract

          Plastic pollution has become a major global conservation challenge. To reduce the generation of plastic waste, we designed and tested several behavioral interventions in a randomized control trial to reduce plastic waste in a high-rise office building. We randomly assigned eight floors in the building to four conditions: (1) simplified recycling signage, (2) signage with a marine animal trapped in plastic debris, (3) signage with a pledge that invited people to be plastic wise to protect ocean life, and (4) control. We found that the signage with the animal reduced plastic waste by 17%, the largest effect among the other conditions. After implementing the signage to the entire building, we found an overall reduction in plastic waste over 6 weeks. The current study demonstrates the effectiveness of visualizing marine consequences of plastic waste and provides a behavioral solution connecting disposal actions and the downstream consequences for plastic waste reduction.

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          Most cited references54

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          A power primer.

          One possible reason for the continued neglect of statistical power analysis in research in the behavioral sciences is the inaccessibility of or difficulty with the standard material. A convenient, although not comprehensive, presentation of required sample sizes is provided here. Effect-size indexes and conventional values for these are given for operationally defined small, medium, and large effects. The sample sizes necessary for .80 power to detect effects at these levels are tabled for eight standard statistical tests: (a) the difference between independent means, (b) the significance of a product-moment correlation, (c) the difference between independent rs, (d) the sign test, (e) the difference between independent proportions, (f) chi-square tests for goodness of fit and contingency tables, (g) one-way analysis of variance, and (h) the significance of a multiple or multiple partial correlation.
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            Microplastics in the marine environment.

            This review discusses the mechanisms of generation and potential impacts of microplastics in the ocean environment. Weathering degradation of plastics on the beaches results in their surface embrittlement and microcracking, yielding microparticles that are carried into water by wind or wave action. Unlike inorganic fines present in sea water, microplastics concentrate persistent organic pollutants (POPs) by partition. The relevant distribution coefficients for common POPs are several orders of magnitude in favour of the plastic medium. Consequently, the microparticles laden with high levels of POPs can be ingested by marine biota. Bioavailability and the efficiency of transfer of the ingested POPs across trophic levels are not known and the potential damage posed by these to the marine ecosystem has yet to be quantified and modelled. Given the increasing levels of plastic pollution of the oceans it is important to better understand the impact of microplastics in the ocean food web. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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              Accumulation and fragmentation of plastic debris in global environments.

              One of the most ubiquitous and long-lasting recent changes to the surface of our planet is the accumulation and fragmentation of plastics. Within just a few decades since mass production of plastic products commenced in the 1950s, plastic debris has accumulated in terrestrial environments, in the open ocean, on shorelines of even the most remote islands and in the deep sea. Annual clean-up operations, costing millions of pounds sterling, are now organized in many countries and on every continent. Here we document global plastics production and the accumulation of plastic waste. While plastics typically constitute approximately 10 per cent of discarded waste, they represent a much greater proportion of the debris accumulating on shorelines. Mega- and macro-plastics have accumulated in the highest densities in the Northern Hemisphere, adjacent to urban centres, in enclosed seas and at water convergences (fronts). We report lower densities on remote island shores, on the continental shelf seabed and the lowest densities (but still a documented presence) in the deep sea and Southern Ocean. The longevity of plastic is estimated to be hundreds to thousands of years, but is likely to be far longer in deep sea and non-surface polar environments. Plastic debris poses considerable threat by choking and starving wildlife, distributing non-native and potentially harmful organisms, absorbing toxic chemicals and degrading to micro-plastics that may subsequently be ingested. Well-established annual surveys on coasts and at sea have shown that trends in mega- and macro-plastic accumulation rates are no longer uniformly increasing: rather stable, increasing and decreasing trends have all been reported. The average size of plastic particles in the environment seems to be decreasing, and the abundance and global distribution of micro-plastic fragments have increased over the last few decades. However, the environmental consequences of such microscopic debris are still poorly understood.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Environment and Behavior
                Environment and Behavior
                SAGE Publications
                0013-9165
                1552-390X
                May 2022
                April 13 2022
                May 2022
                : 54
                : 4
                : 809-832
                Affiliations
                [1 ]The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
                [2 ]Ocean Wise, Vancouver, BC, Canada
                [3 ]University of Vienna, Austria
                Article
                10.1177/00139165221090154
                40af9d4d-1b96-4c43-9a8a-1fd674d6ac5b
                © 2022

                https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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