A volunteer gathers a water sample for the Puget Sound microplastic monitoring program. Photo: Kitsap Sun / contributed

By Tad Sooter
16 May 2018

BREMERTON (Kitsap Sun) – Walk any Puget Sound beach and you're bound to find plastic garbage —  a soda bottle, a chunk of foam, maybe a dog's lost chew toy.

But that's just the plastic pollution you can see. The results of a recent volunteer-powered research project suggest there are tiny particles of plastic suspended in nearly every jarful of water along the shoreline.

Non-profit Puget Soundkeeper Alliance teamed up with the University of Puget Sound to analyze water samples gathered last fall by volunteers around the Sound. They found an average of 2.8 pieces of microplastic (plastic bits smaller than 5 millimeters) per 150 milliliter water sample (roughly 1 gulp, to use an unscientific term). A sample taken in Bremerton produced four pieces of microplastic.

The first year of the monitoring program didn't produce enough data to support a published paper, but UPS conservation biologist Peter Hodum said even the anecdotal results highlight how pervasive microplastics have become.

"It's incredible," Hodum said. "It's a little scary." […]

Hodum said there is no good estimate for how much microplastic exists in Puget Sound, but research has shown plastic is present from the surface to the sediment.

"Everywhere we've surveyed for it … we do find plastic at some level," he said. [more]

Puget Sound microplastic pollution 'everywhere we've surveyed for it,' study shows

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