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Dead sperm whale in The Wash, East Anglia, England. © CSIP-ZSL.

What have dead whales ever done for us?

When dead whales wash up on dry land they provide a vital food source for...
Risso's dolphin © Andy Knight

We’re getting to know Risso’s dolphins in Scotland so we can protect them

Citizen scientists in Scotland are helping us better understand Risso's dolphins by sending us their...
Pilot whales pooing © Christopher Swann

Talking crap and carcasses to protect our planet

We know we need to save the whale to save the world because they are...
Fin whales are targeted by Icelandic whalers

Speaking truth to power – my week giving whales a voice

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting is where governments come together to make decisions about whaling...

Why do whales and dolphins strand on beaches?

People often ask me 'why' whales and dolphins do one thing or another.  I'm a...
A spinner dolphin leaping © Andrew Sutton/Eco2

Head in a spin – my incredible spinner dolphin encounter

Sri Lanka is home to at least 30 species of whales and dolphins, from the...
Sperm whale (physeter macrocephalus) Gulf of California. The tail of a sperm whale.

To protect whales, we must stop ignoring the high seas

Almost two-thirds of the ocean, or 95% of the habitable space on Earth, are sloshing...
WDC team at UN Ocean conference

Give the ocean a chance – our message from the UN Ocean Conference

I'm looking out over the River Tejo in Lisbon, Portugal, reflecting on the astounding resilience...
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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...

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...

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...

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...

Norway increases whaling quota despite declining demand

Norway's government has announced an increase in the number of minke whales that can be...

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!