Micro plastics is a trending topic in the bay area environmental community, spurred by a recent study from the San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) by Dr. Rebecca Sutton that found our bay contains greater micro-plastic contamination than any large inland US body of water. Micro plastics can be defined as pieces of plastic, less than five centimeters in any dimension, primarily in the form of fragments from larger plastics and synthetic fibers from clothes. Microplastics are less dense than water and initially float; however, microplastics form together with other pollutants like carcinogens and toxins, increasing the micro-plastic density, and eventually transport throughout the water column.
The San Francisco Bay needs further research to determine what impacts micro plastics could have for shoreline resiliency and future dredging operations. As micro plastics have been locally found in the stomachs of our local fish, it is imperative our community supports research on the impacts of local endangered species, and the potential public health risk microplastics may have toward the people of the San Francisco Bay Area. The people of California demonstrated overwhelming support for the ban of micro-beads in the state (AB 888), a small victory for reduction, but a strong step towards micro-plastic regulation.
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