I’m excited to announce that as part of the run across Iceland this June, I will be collecting more than a dozen 1-liter samples of both seawater and upstream river water for a global microplastics study through the terrific folks at Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation. The research study, led by marine research scientists Abby Barrows, incorporates data from samples sent in by adventurers around the world.
What are microplastics & why study them?
Primary microplastics are the tiny plastic beads — microbeads — used in cosmetics like exfoliants and in industrial applications such as sand blasting.
Secondary microplastics come from the degradation of larger pieces of plastic that make their way into the ocean.
Worldwide production of plastics has increased 9% annually since 1950 to more than 230 million tons annually today.
Disposable plastic goods account for 10% of all global landfill waste.
An estimated 10% of this plastic waste ends up in our oceans.
Microplastics are now found in nearly all marine habitats–and often in shocking quantities:
According to one study over 2004 and 2005, just two rivers in Los Angeles CA contributed 2 billion microplastic particles to the ocean over a 3 day period.
In the Pacific Ocean alone, fish ingest an estimated 12,000-24,000 tons of plastic each year.
During the scouting, preparation, and with the help of support team members, I will be able to take samples from the south and north coasts of Iceland as well as along rivers running from the interior highlands into both the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.
I’m curious to see what we’ll find.
To learn more about microplastics and about ASC, check out the following:
Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation
“Microplastics as contaminants in the marine environment”