Ocean Fest


May 27, 2018 Comments Off on The One Place You Won’t Find Plastic journal

The One Place You Won’t Find Plastic

“We found microbeads in the smallest bits of sediment and
in a concentration equal to the amounts of silt and organic matter.”

I was thumbing through a detailed report on the environmental health of Puget Sound the other day, the 2017 State of the Sound, put out by Puget Sound Partnership. It’s a well-done booklet (80 pages of engaging graphics, ready statistics and vibrant colors), and it does a good job of highlighting many of the specific challenges that we face here in the Puget Sound region. But amid all of the talk of stormwater, agricultural runoff, seawalls and population inputs, there was nary a mention of plastic. The actual word “plastic,” is not used once in the publication. I checked.

The incredibly sobering quote up top comes from an article I was just reading this morning, about plastic in the shellfish beds in BC. There is a large section in the PSP report about shellfish, but no mention of this type or level of threat. It just makes me wonder, is all. It’s not like our waters are going to be appreciably different from BC’s coastal waters; in fact, I did some mussel collecting for a UPS study a few years ago in which 100% of the samples contained plastic fibers and particles, so it seems as though some meaningful data is out there. I am curious as to why would it not be referenced somewhere in those 80 pages but there may be a very good reason for this. I sent an email in with the question and I’m looking forward to the reply.

It makes me think that a full-scale study of the Sound, sediment, static water samples and open water collecting with a manta trawl, along with incorporating the findings that we have already (in the few places that we have them), is called for, along with a robust program of putting out the word about the specific results… maybe I’m starting to get a picture of what next year’s programs might include.

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