*1* A recent study sought to answer another of the mysteries of micro-plastics: how they manage to transport themselves throughout the marine ecosystem, into even the most remote ocean reaches, such as the deep ocean floor and Arctic sea ice. Kakani Katija, a National Geographic Explorer and marine scientist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, found that micro-plastics are carried to the deep ocean after they have been consumed by many tiny marine invertebrates, or filter feeding organisms known as larvaceans. This study, also conducted in Monterey Bay, California, used remote operated vehicles to track how the larvaceans filtered microplastics from the water column and ingested them. The link to the video is here.
There has been enough research to prove that it is indeed in a lot of places but it is degraded to tiny pieces so it is going to be really difficult to remove it. Just by the cleanups we have done at Newport Beach we know that we can return a day or 2 later and find new trash, typically cigarette butts, balloon ribbons, bottle caps, straws, stirrers, and pieces of plastic and expanded polystyrene that was once undoubtedly an ice cooler of a cup of some kind. What is the solution? Extended consumer responsibility. We must care enough to support all of the maintenance that goes with the territory of using single use plastic. It’s not fair to have the government do the work and charge all of us for it whether you are a big single use plastic user or not but that is the reality. We will keep pouring money into the maintaining of single use plastic trash because people are not conscious of this dilemma to a point where it will stop being a problem. If you can come up with a way to communicate with the masses on a level where we will all come together to solve this environmental crisis please let me know.
For now we are seeing a trend where the types of plastics that we use on a daily basis but really don’t need to are going to be targeted to be obsolete. The state of California understands that efforts to clean up single use plastic so that it will not end up in our ocean and ultimately us is not sustainable.
*1* Laura Parker of National Geographic