Outer Shores is on the lookout for microplastics in our ocean
Some of our guests may notice Passing Cloud’s crew collecting seawater samples. It’s all in aid of a new citizen-science project aiming to get some baseline data on a relatively new environmental threat – microplastics.
Microplastics are any plastic particle 5mm in size and smaller. Some might be visible to the naked eye, but many are not. Some enter the environment in our trash, but others – particularly those found on clothing, and in cosmetics and other household products – can be casually and invisibly washed down the drain.
When they enter the environment, microplastics can leach deadly toxins. They can also enter the food chain when ingested by birds, fish and marine mammals. And we humans may also be inadvertently consuming them.
The project the Outer Shores crew is helping is called the Global Microplastics Initiative. It’s a joint project between The College of the Atlantic and Adventures and Scientists for Conservation. Their initiative is using the samples we send to help compile a comprehensive microplastics dataset. This dataset will then help the researchers find ways to tackle this emerging environmental threat.
If you want to learn more about this project and microplastics, visit www.adventurescience.org/microplastics, where you’ll also find a very cool interactive map allowing viewers to see how many plastics per litre have been found in samples taken from all over the world, including our local waters here in British Columbia.