PLASTIC FOR DINNER?...
MICROPLASTICS ARE MISTAKENLY INGESTED BY MARINE LIFE
We all want to help protect our oceans, waves, and beaches, but sometimes knowing
where to start can feel a bit difficult. Large plastic bags, bottles, and debris on our
beaches and in our oceans is easy to see. Microplastics, however, pose a greater
challenge, as they are only visible under a microscope. Formed as a consequence of
the breakdown of larger plastic material, microplastics have become a paramount issue
for the marine environment. Resembling phytoplankton, and ingestible by marine life
from shellfish to whales, microplastics have contributed to deleterious effects close to
home. B.C. researches now consider resident killer whales in the Salish sea the most
polluted marine animals on earth.
According to Peter Ross, a former research scientist with the federal Institute of Ocean
Sciences, microplastics are recorded at a mean of 7,630 particles per cubic meter in
Queen Charlotte Sound. Species forming the base of the food web mistakenly ingest
microplastics which can lead to false satiation, causing organisms to starve.
Additionally, it is suggested that when fish and other aquatic species ingest
microplastics, transfer of toxins through the food chain can occur. While this may seem
daunting, many small actions can bring on a large change. Join us in helping to protect
where we play, and rise above plastics!
Rise above plastics mission:
To reduce the impacts of plastics in the marine environment by raising awareness about
the dangers of plastic pollution and by advocating for a reduction of single-use plastics
and the recycling of all plastics
What can you do?
Plastic shows up in all sorts of items from take out containers to personal care products.
Things we use daily like facial cleansers may contain plastic particles, and while they
help to exfoliate our skin, they are harmful to our oceans. Products are rinsed down
the drain and flushed into our oceans. With summer around the corner, here are few
easy things you can do to help reduce your plastic footprint and keep plastics out of our
1)Check product labels for ingredients. Plastics can appear as: Polyethylene /
Polythene (PE), polypropylene (PP) or Polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Download
the “beat the microbead” app www.beatthemicrobead.org, which allows you to scan the
barcode of products for plastic microbeads. Try alternatives such as crushed seeds from
apricots and cocoa beans.
2)Choose to reuse. Opt for cloth shopping bags over plastic, and glass or metal
reusable bottles for water.
3) We all like to get takeout from time to to time, but styrofoam has become a major
problem for our oceans. Fortunately, there are great solutions here in Vancouver. The
Tiffin project, for example, is a non profit on a mission to lessen yearly takeout waste.
Learn more about the Tiffin project here: http://thetiffinproject.com/
4)Bring your own to go mug the next time you get coffee, smoothie or to go beverage.
5)Pack your lunch or beach picnic in a reusable lunch bag or box, rather than plastic
6)Get involved. We would love to see you at a beach clean up! Check out or eventbrite
and Facebook and register for one of our upcoming monthly beach cleanups.
7)Support plastic bag bans, polystyrene foam bans and bottle recycling bills.
8)Word of mouth. Spread the word to friends and family about why it is important to
Rise Above Plastics!
Wright, S. L., Thompson, R. C., and Galloway, T. S. (2013). The physical
impacts of microplastics on marine organisms: A review. Environmental
Pollution 178: 483–492.
Browne, M. A., Dissanayake, A., Galloway, T. S., Lowe, D. M., and
Thompson, R.C. (2008). Ingested microscopic plastic translocates to
circulatory system of the mussel, Mytilus edulis (L.). Environmental Sci.
Tech. American Chemical Society: Drake Circus, United Kingdom.
Thompson, R. C., Moore, C. J., vom Saal, F. S., Swan, S. H. (2009). Plastics,
the environment and human health: Current consensus and future trends.
Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B. 364(1526): 2153-2166.
Rios Mendoza, L. M., and Evans, C. Y. (2013). Plastics are invading not only
the ocean but also the Great Lakes. American Chemical Society meeting,