The vast majority of debris in the ocean — about 75 percent of it — is made of plastic. It can consist of anything from plastic bottles to packaging materials, but whatever form it takes, it doesn't go away easily.
While plastic may break down into smaller and smaller pieces, some as small as grains of sand, these pieces are never truly biodegradable. The plastic bits, some small enough that they're called microplastics, threaten marine life like fish and birds, explains Richard Thompson, a professor of marine biology at Plymouth University in the U.K.
You can't hear it over the noise of London's traffic. But it's there. That faint, whining hum. Right under my feet, thousands of mosquitoes are dining on human blood.
To visit them, you have to go through a sliding glass door into the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. This school started as a hospital on the Thames River, where doctors treated sailors returning from faraway places with strange parasites.
Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.
Last week, the Obama administration announced historic regulations to limit carbon dioxide emissions. Policies to address climate change have been a tough sell among some Republicans on Capitol Hill, but also in many Christian congregations around the country.
The 2014 Atlantic hurricane season is now officially upon us. And it comes in the midst of a historic lull.
Timeexplains that it's been 3,142 days since a Category 3 hurricane or stronger made landfall in the United States. The last one was Hurricane Wilma, which at its peak had winds of 185 mph and made landfall in Florida in 2005.
"That's an unprecedented streak, going back to 1900—the longest drought before the current one was nearly 1,000 days shorter," Time goes on.