Hundreds of environmental events happened this year 2019, but only few reached the international community.
Let's take a look back to 2019's environmental newsmakers:
12th: First plastic-free flight
Portuguese airline, Hi Fly, is the first airline to operate plastic-free flights. The airline's first plastic-free flight happened on December 26, 2018. According to its president, Paolo Mirpuri, the aviation company is aiming to become the first airline to fully implement plastic-free flights by end of 2019. Hi Fly is working with its sustainability partner, Mirpuri Foundation, in order to become "one of the leading proponents of sustainability in aviation."
Moreover, Hi Fly is also committed to become carbon neutral on all their flights by 2021.
11th: Death of 500 million bees in three months
An entire colony of bees just died in 48 hours. In fact in three months, 500 million bees in Brazil died due to Fipronil, an insecticide which is deemed to be a human carcinogen.
10th: Largest underwater cleanup
Last June 15, a group of 633 divers wore their wetsuits and airtanks and gathered in Florida. They participated in an underwaters trash cleanup drive. These divers set a new world record by beating Egypt's record with 615 divers.
The 633 divers were able to pick up 9,000 marine debris.
9th: Marine animals died because of non-biodegradable waste
Have you heard of the dead bodies of a dolphin and a 200 kg. leatherback turtle found along Philippine shores? The culprit of their deaths is our non-biodegradable waste. The dolphin died because of the garbage bag found in its stomach; while the giant leatherback turtle died because of drowning. The said sea turtle was already found dead with an entangled rope.
8th: Philippines' pinyapel
An international award for sustainability was given to the Philippine company, Cagayan de Oro Handmade Papercrafts because of paper made from discarded pineapple leaves. The production of such sustianable material was made possible through the company's partnership with Department of Industry’s (DTI) Design Center of the Philippines (DCP).
7th: Extinction of certain species
The Sumatran Rhinos are now extinct in Malaysia due to the death of the country's last male and female rhinos. The last pair was not able to reproduce because of health reasons.
Another species that became extinct are the Spinx Macaws due to deforestation.
Aside from the Sumatran Rhinos and Spix Macaws, there are other species which became extinct this year 2019: 20 Extinct Animals We've Lost In The Last 150 Years.
Now, a marine species, the Clownfish, is in the brink of extinction.
6th: Extinct turtle species found
Despite the total absence of some species, two turtle species-- which are said to be extinct-- were discovered this year.
Seventeen years ago, the Black Softshell Turtle was declared extinct from the wild. This year, the soft-shelled turtle was found alive in an Indian temple.
One of the species of Galapagos Tortoise, called Chelonoidis phantasticus, was recently seen in a remote volcanic island in the Galapagos. This certain species of Galapagos Tortoise was declared extinct since 1906.
5th: Melting of Iceland's first glacier
Iceland's first glacier named Okjökull o,r also known as "Ok", completely melted this year. In fact, a monument was built in memory of the said glacier.
4th: Tokyo 2020 goes sustainable
Japan is the 2020 host of the Olympic Games. The country is known for its technological innovations and sustainabilityefforts. As part of the country's preparation for the upcoming Olympic Games on 2020, they announced their environment-friendly efforts through the making of the Olympic medals. The medals are made from old mobile phones collected from the citizens.
3rd: Jakarta, along with other cities of the world, is sinking
With over 10 million people living, Indonesia's capital city, Jakarta, is sinking. Its sinking is caused by the absence of groundwater--which is by the way extracted as the citizen's water consumption.
Aside from Jakarta, other cities in the world, such as Houston and Beijing are also sinking.
2nd: Ethiopians planted 350 million trees
Last July, Ethiopians were able to plant over 350 million saplings within 12 hours. The tree planting program is part of the country's #GreenLegacy, in order to replenish and somehow compensate the rapid tree loss in the country. They beated Egypt's 50 million trees planted.
1st: Rainforest fires in the Amazon and Australian forests
This year, rainforest fires were on global headlines. Two most popular among these fires are the ones that happened in the Amazon and Australian forests.
Six hundred forty million acres of land in the Amazon were affected by the fire. The devastating environmental tragedy started on August 15 and continued for more than three days. On August 19, a state of emergency was declared. Thousands of species died and millions of trees were burned to ashes.
Late this year, Australia had also massive forest fires due to the extreme heat. News articles highlighted the koalas who were affected by the fires. Some of these marsupials died and some were reported injured. Lewis, the koala seen in a viral video, died after a week motorist Toni Doherty saved him.