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We need whale poo 📷 WDC NA

Whales are our climate allies – meet the scientists busy proving it

At Whale and Dolphin Conservation, we're working hard to bring whales and the ocean into...
Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

The whale trappers are back with their cruel experiment

Anyone walking past my window might have heard my groan of disbelief at the news...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...
Risso's dolphin entangled in fishing line and plastic bags - Andrew Sutton

The ocean is awash with plastic – can we ever clean it up?

You've seen pictures of plastic litter accumulating on beaches or marine wildlife swimming through floating...
Fin whale

Is this the beginning of the end for whaling off Iceland?

I'm feeling cautiously optimistic after Iceland's Fisheries Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir wrote that there is little...
Mykines Lighthouse, Faroe Islands

Understanding whale and dolphin hunts in the Faroe Islands – why change is not easy

Most people in my home country of the Faroe Islands would like to see an...

Dolphin scientists look like you and me – citizen science in action

Our amazing volunteers have looked out for dolphins from the shores of Scotland more than...
Atlantic white-sided dolphins

The Faroes dolphin slaughter that sparked an outcry now brings hope

Since the slaughter of at least 1,423 Atlantic white-sided dolphins at Skálafjørður in my home...
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Port River dolphins

New report reveals 100,000 dolphins and small whales hunted every year

When you hear the words ‘dolphin hunts’ it’s likely that you think of Japan or...

Minke whale hunts stop in Iceland

Iceland’s commercial hunt of minke whales has ended for this year. The common minke whale is the...

Pregnant whales once again a target for Japanese whalers

Figures from Japan's whaling expedition to Antarctica during the 2017/18 austral summer have revealed that...

Did Icelandic whalers really kill a blue whale?

*Warning - this blog contains an image that you may find upsetting* They say a...

Icelandic whalers breach international law and kill iconic, protected whale by mistake

Icelandic whalers out hunting fin whales for the first time in three years appear to...

Doubts remain after Icelandic Marine Institute claims slaughtered whale was a hybrid not a blue

Experts remain sceptical of initial test results issued by the Icelandic Marine Institute, which indicate...

Japan set to resume commercial whaling

Reports from Japan suggest that the government they will formally propose plans to resume commercial...

End the whale hunts! Icelandic fin whaler isolated as public mood shifts

Here’s a sight I hoped never again to witness. A boat being scrubbed and repainted...

Australian Government to block Japanese whaling proposal

Japanese Government officials have reportedly confirmed that they will propose the resumption of commercial whaling...

Icelandic fin whale hunting to resume

Iceland’s only fin whaling company, Hvalur hf,  announced today that it will resume fin whaling...

SOS alert for whales off Norway!

I have to admit to bitter disappointment when I arrived in Tromsø, northern Norway, a...

Norway's whaling season begins

April 1st saw the start of the whaling season in Norway. Despite a widely-accepted international moratorium...

The best solution? Less plastic for pollution

Saturday, September 16th was designated as the International Coastal Cleanup Day, and shortly some colleagues from our other offices will share updates and photos from their events. Here in the North American office, we were unable to host a coastal cleanup due to our annual fundraising event Expedition: White Sharks and Whales which took place on the same day. However, we have a few ongoing efforts to prevent marine pollution, and more specifically, plastic pollution. The blog below was written by one of our interns, Monica Ponzi, who joined us in July from Italy.

Our attraction to plastic, together with its over-consumption and worldwide littering is leading to the continuously increasing problem of plastic pollution. We come into contact with plastic every single day and it seems like we are not able to live without it anymore. Most people, however, never seem to ask themselves a very important question. Where does all this plastic end up after we throw it away in our bin?

Although more and more countries and organizations seem to have increased their litter prevention and recycling efforts, most of our plastic will, at some stage, end up in our waterways, with more than 8 million tons of plastic dumped in our oceans every year.

If you are reading this, plastic pollution most likely impacts you! Plastics can cause threats to the environment, its species and to all living beings who depend on water systems for survival. Due to its non-biodegradable characteristics and its dangerous chemicals, marine life may potentially become entangled or die after ingesting plastic. During our time on the water, we often see whales swimming in close proximity to polluted plastic. Since this area is a feeding ground for many species of large whales, we can only imagine how much plastic they accidentally ingest while catching their schools of prey.

Plastic Oceans estimates that around 500 billion plastic consumer carryout bags are used worldwide per year. The use of these single-use plastic bags is one of the most common “bad habits” and frankly speaking, it is one of the easiest things for us to work on and change!

Numerous countries have reduced or completely banned the use of single-use plastic bags, being recognized as the cause of many environmental problems. In Plymouth, Massachusetts, where our North American office is located, a plastic bag ban became effective on the 21st of February 2017, stating that “establishments in the town of Plymouth can only provide Reusable Carryout Bags or Paper bags”; the violation of this rule will lead to specific penalties. While it is taking some adjusting in everyday life, it is hoped that this ban will increase people’s knowledge and awareness regarding this topic.

This is only one of many rules and regulations that could be enforced around the world in order to reduce the degradation of the environment. Coming from Italy and having lived there my whole life, it is very obvious to me that the interest and efforts of the general population towards recycling and the environment is much higher here in Plymouth than it is back home.

There is still so much that can be done and it all starts with the actions of the common people. If the Italian community, for example, simply put a little more effort into recycling, that would already make an enormous difference- people don’t even realize how much!

Did you know recycling waste materials (e.g. plastic bottles, magazines etc.) also saves energy? This energy can then be translated into electricity use, using a calculation tool provided by the Environmental Protection Agency.  We recycle our own office materials, and additionally we collect, count, and sort recycling from our whale watching partners, Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises. Check out the illustration below to see how much energy we saved by recycling with them last year. For any teachers out there, this may be a fun project to do with your classroom!

This tool clearly illustrates one of many positive impacts of recycling and will hopefully lead to an increased concern and effort by people all around the world. A single person making a change to their everyday habits will automatically affect those around them and this can only lead to a positive change in our collective future.

Recycling is definitely the way forward, so make sure you follow your local recycling guidelines. Imagine how much better off we all would be if we could ban single-use plastic bags worldwide!