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Galápagos Fighting the Rising Tide of Plastic Pollution
When the clean-up volunteers in the Galápagos Islands came across a soda can with a brand from Indonesia, they were hardly surprised. For months, they had been cleaning the remote beaches of these iconic islands 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador and removing tonnes of plastic waste, much of it carried to the islands from other corners of the planet.

With an area of 138,000 square kilometers, the Galápagos Marine Reserve is one of the largest in the world. The islands are home to more than 2,900 species, many of which are found nowhere else in the planet: 86 per cent of the islands’ reptiles are endemic, as are 27 per cent of the mammals and 25 per cent of the birds. Cormorants, marine iguanas, penguins, sea lions and the famous Darwinian finches and giant tortoises are among the archipelago’s iconic species. Due to its important ecological, cultural and economic wealth, the Galápagos was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978.

But humans are altering this pristine ecosystem: plastic rubbish was recently found in the nests of finches, as well as in the stomachs of sea turtles and albatrosses, as part of an investigation conducted jointly by the Directorate of the Galápagos National Park and the San Francisco University of Quito.



 
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Single-Use Plastic Bag Submerged 7 Miles Below Ocean's Surface - The deepest known piece of plastic trash—a single-use plastic bag submerged 36,000 feet (or nearly 7 miles) in the Mariana Trench.


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