Antarctica

Oh, the places plastic will go

View of collected plastic waste at Guacalillo beach, in Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Collected plastic waste at Guacalillo beach, Costa Rica. Photo: Ezequiel Becerra/AFP/Getty Images

The ubiquity of plastics has led some researchers to dub this era the Plastic Age. From macro to micro, plastics are slowly permeating our bodies, our oceans and even our air.

Why it matters: By one estimate, nearly 80% of plastic waste has accumulated in landfills or in the natural environment, and it’s uncertain how long it takes to degrade.

Emperor penguin colony wiped out from "catastrophic" breeding failure

Scientists have announced a "catastrophic" breeding failure at one of world’s largest emperor penguin colonies.
Emperor penguins on Antarctica's Snow Hill Island, at the Weddell Sea. Photo: Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

A "catastrophic" breeding failure has devastated the emperor penguin colony at Halley Bay in the Weddell Sea of Antarctica, with no chicks surviving during each of the past 3 years, scientists said on Thursday.

Why it matters: This particular emperor penguin colony was previously the second largest in the world, with 15,000 to 24,000 breeding couples visiting the site annually. But the colony "has now all but disappeared," British Antarctic Survey researchers said in a statement accompanying the publication of their study in the journal Antarctic Science. Adult penguins have since fled the island, they said.