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Public Health On Call, April 22, 2021

301 - Earth Day: Why COVID-19 Has Caused an Increase in Ocean Pollution

COVID is creating massive environmental issues such as the 1.56 billion face masks that entered the oceans in 2020 alone. Teale Phelps Bondaroff, the Director of Research for Oceans Asia, talks with Stephanie Desmon about how improperly discarded PPE to a massive rise in the production of single-use plastics are setting the world significantly back in controlling its problem with microplastics and pollution.

NBC News, April 21, 2021

How to reduce face mask pollution, according to experts

When single-use masks are not disposed of properly, they pose an environmental risk, said Teale Phelps Bondaroff, director of research for OceansAsia. Single-use face masks — both the disposable kind the general public wears and medical-grade surgical masks — are often made with polypropylene plastic. When that plastic breaks up into smaller pieces, it can take as long as 450 years to decompose, Phelps Bondaroff said. 

Oceanography Magazine,
April 13, 2021

RIPPLE MARKS • Surgical Masks on the Beach: COVID-19 and Marine Plastic Pollution

“The 1.56 billion face masks that will likely enter our ocean in 2020 are just the tip of the iceberg,” says Phelps Bondaroff. “The 4,680 to 6,240 metric tons of face masks are just a small fraction of the estimated 8 to 12 million metric tons of plastic that end up in our ocean each year.”

The Guardian, April 11, 2021

‘Aphrodisiac’ of the ocean: how sea cucumbers became gold for organised crime

“If you have a legal market in that kind of way in proximity to an illegal market, the legal market becomes a huge source for fish laundering,” says Teale Phelps Bondaroff, director of research at OceansAsia, whose recent report maps the arrests and seizures of sea cucumbers in the two countries.
 

For years, authorities in Sri Lanka and India have been trying to combat this marine crime. But despite the number of arrests and seizures on the rise, new cases show the illegal trade is spreading to previously untouched areas.

Sri Lanka Mirror, March 31, 2021

Study: India and Sri Lanka - A Global Sea Cucumber Crime Hotspot

Sea cucumber poaching and smuggling have been on the rise in Sri Lanka and India, says a new article by Dr. Teale Phelps Bondaroff, director of Research for OceansAsia. The article, published in the most recent issue of the SPC Beche-de-Mer Information Bulletin, analyzes 120 incidents of sea cucumber crime in India and Sri Lanka, between 2015 and 2020.

The Hill, March 24, 2021

Environmental groups: Discarded masks, gloves creating pollution problem

“The 1.56 billion face masks that will likely enter our oceans in 2020 are just the tip of the iceberg,” says Teale Phelps Bondaroff, director of research for OceanAsia said in a statement. “The 4,680 to 6,240 metric tonnes of face masks are just a small fraction of the estimated 8 to 12 million metric tonnes of plastic that enter our oceans each year.”

Loose Lips Magazine, March 22, 2021

Free contraception in BC would help everyone, not just cis women

The BC NDP was elected on a platform that promised to make all prescription contraception free, affirmed by Minister of Health for BC Adrian Dix’s mandate letter. That still hasn’t happened, limiting access to care for anyone who can become pregnant across the province. That can include trans men, non-binary people, gender-fluid people, and intersex people, not only cisgender women.

Saanich News, March 21, 2021

Reduced speeds key to road safety

In light of a number of news stories about drivers having their vehicles impounded for travelling at excessive speeds through Saanich (see: Driver going 178 km/h on Pat Bay Highway slapped with hefty fine, week-long impound), it’s clear that we must continue our work towards achieving Vision Zero, including reducing speed limits on residential streets to 30km/h.

The Pidgeon, March 18, 2021

Free contraception is still out of reach for Canadians

With a shared passion for local advocacy and social change, Phelps Bondaroff and Black first worked together on a political campaign in 2006. Phelps Bondaroff, then a teenager, was running in the federal election as an NDP candidate for Alberta’s Calgary West riding. Black, who went to the same high school as Phelps Bondaroff, signed up to be his communications director.

Phelps Bondaroff and Black, meanwhile, found an issue that resonates with them both. Together, they’re advocating for free prescription contraception in British Columbia.

CKPG Today, March 11, 2021

Provincial group pushes for free contraception

A BC-based group that formed over four years ago is on a campaign to remove barriers to accessing prescription contraception.
 

AccessBC believes prescription contraception is a right, not a luxury. The group wants to see universal no-cost prescription contraception for the residents of BC.

Times Colonist, February 17, 2021

Little free libraries like 'coral reefs for community'

For Phelps Bondaroff, the free ­little libraries are about much more than books. They’re places where you can strike up a conversation with a ­stranger, meet your neighbours and make new friends. 

“I’ve always described the libraries as coral reefs for community. And so they have the potential to sort of serve as these community hubs,” he said.

eNCA South Africa, January 14, 2021

OceansAsia report says billions of masks end up in the ocean

There is a very worrying report from the environmental organization Ocean Asia who believe that more than a billion masks have ended up in the ocean in the past year, which amounts to over 6000 tonnes of plastic pollution. Gloves too are a problem. So let’s get some South African input.

NBC Philadelphia, January 14, 2021

About 1.5 Billion Face Masks Likely Polluted Our Oceans in 2020, Oceans Asia Study Finds

While masks and other protective gear are crucial in the fight against COVID-19, they can have an incredibly damaging impact on the planet. The director of research at the conservation group Oceans Asia, Teale Phelps Bondaroff, joined LX News to discuss how massive numbers of face masks have been entering our oceans since the start of the pandemic.

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