Exceptional and rapid accumulation of anthropogenic debris on one of the world’s most remote and pristine islands
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- Published over 2 years ago
In just over half a century plastic products have revolutionized human society and have infiltrated terrestrial and marine environments in every corner of the globe. The hazard plastic debris poses to biodiversity is well established, but mitigation and planning are often hampered by a lack of quantitative data on accumulation patterns. Here we document the amount of debris and rate of accumulation on Henderson Island, a remote, uninhabited island in the South Pacific. The density of debris was the highest reported anywhere in the world, up to 671.6 items/m(2) (mean ± SD: 239.4 ± 347.3 items/m(2)) on the surface of the beaches. Approximately 68% of debris (up to 4,496.9 pieces/m(2)) on the beach was buried <10 cm in the sediment. An estimated 37.7 million debris items weighing a total of 17.6 tons are currently present on Henderson, with up to 26.8 new items/m accumulating daily. Rarely visited by humans, Henderson Island and other remote islands may be sinks for some of the world's increasing volume of waste.
The detrimental impact of smoking on health has been widely documented since the 1960s. Numerous studies have also quantified the economic cost that smoking imposes on society. However, these studies have mostly been in high income countries, with limited documentation from developing countries. The aim of this paper is to measure the economic cost of smoking-attributable diseases in countries throughout the world, including in low- and middle-income settings.
Ancient DNA research is revealing a human history far more complex than that inferred from parsimonious models based on modern DNA. Here, we review some of the key events in the peopling of the world in the light of the findings of work on ancient DNA.
Acetaminophen (paracetamol) is one of the most common medications used for management of pain in the world. There is lack of consensus about the mechanism of action, and concern about the possibility of adverse effects on reproductive health.
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are among the top 10 most widely used drugs in the world. PPI use has been associated with an increased risk of enteric infections, most notably Clostridium difficile. The gut microbiome plays an important role in enteric infections, by resisting or promoting colonisation by pathogens. In this study, we investigated the influence of PPI use on the gut microbiome.
How often do people visit the world’s protected areas (PAs)? Despite PAs covering one-eighth of the land and being a major focus of nature-based recreation and tourism, we don’t know. To address this, we compiled a globally-representative database of visits to PAs and built region-specific models predicting visit rates from PA size, local population size, remoteness, natural attractiveness, and national income. Applying these models to all but the very smallest of the world’s terrestrial PAs suggests that together they receive roughly 8 billion (8 x 109) visits/y-of which more than 80% are in Europe and North America. Linking our region-specific visit estimates to valuation studies indicates that these visits generate approximately US $600 billion/y in direct in-country expenditure and US $250 billion/y in consumer surplus. These figures dwarf current, typically inadequate spending on conserving PAs. Thus, even without considering the many other ecosystem services that PAs provide to people, our findings underscore calls for greatly increased investment in their conservation.
Physical activity helps people maintain a healthy weight and reduces the risk for several chronic diseases. Although this knowledge is widely recognized, adults and children in many countries around the world do not get recommended amounts of physical activity. Although many interventions are found to be ineffective at increasing physical activity or reaching inactive populations, there have been anecdotal reports of increased physical activity due to novel mobile games that embed game play in the physical world. The most recent and salient example of such a game is Pokémon Go, which has reportedly reached tens of millions of users in the United States and worldwide.
The use of dietary supplements is increasing among athletes, year after year. Related to the high rates of use, unintentional doping occurs. Unintentional doping refers to positive anti-doping tests due to the use of any supplement containing unlisted substances banned by anti-doping regulations and organizations, such as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The objective of this review is to summarize the presence of unlabeled doping substances in dietary supplements that are used in sports.
In COPD, functional status is improved by pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) but requires specific facilities. Tai Chi, which combines psychological treatment and physical exercise and requires no special equipment, is widely practiced in China and is becoming increasingly popular in the rest of the world. We hypothesized that Tai Chi is equivalent (ie, difference less than ±4 St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire [SGRQ] points) to PR.
India has 23% of the global burden of active tuberculosis (TB) patients and 27% of the world’s “missing” patients, which includes those who may not have received effective TB care and could potentially spread TB to others. The “cascade of care” is a useful model for visualizing deficiencies in case detection and retention in care, in order to prioritize interventions.