Unseen Plastics in Our Water
BY EMILY DIFRISCO – JUNE 18, 2018
How citizen science informed a new study that revealed the extent of microplastic and microfiber pollution in marine ecosystems
The movement to stop plastic from polluting our environment has picked up incredible momentum in recent months. The UN has declared the entire year dedicated to reducing ocean plastic pollution, National Geographic has launched a multi-year Planet or Plastic? campaign, the EU may ban single-use plastics, and California has several pieces of legislation in the works to stop pollution from plastic straws, bottle caps, and even to reduce ocean pollution from plastic microfibers shed from clothing in the wash.
Plastic Pollution Coalition (PPC), a project of Earth Island Institute, has been at the forefront of this movement since 2009. Now, with more than 700 organizations and businesses in 60+ countries in the coalition, PPC uses digital organizing to further the goal of working toward a world free of plastic pollution. Because grassroots efforts are at the heart of the work the PPC does, it often supports citizen science initiatives that aim to map plastic pollution, publish original research, and push legislation to protect our planet.
In the past six months, PPC has been highlighting the work of coalition members who are using citizen science. This includes groups that are charting litter all over the world via an app called Litterati; youth in the Bahamas who dissect fish, learn about microplastics, and turn that knowledge into action by working with local government; and folks who are gathering water samples from all over the world to create a multi-year global study on microplastics in the world’s oceans.
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