Microplastics

Updated: Jun 12, 2019

Microplastics are small bits of plastic that come from broken down pieces of larger plastics and other sources. They are less than five millimeters long (about the size of a sesame seed). In 2016, there was estimated to be approximately 93,000 to 236,000 metric tons of microplastic just in the ocean.


You might think that microplastics are not a big issue, or that since we live in Maine there won't be a lot of them. In reality, though, we're surrounded by them. The picture below shows microplastic levels in Blue Hill Bay. The dark red areas are showing where the majority of microplastics are found, and the dark blue is showing the lowest levels of microplastics. This graph was created by the Marine and Environmental Research Institute (MERI).


The Damage


While this might seem like a small issue that doesn't impact the island, it's the exact opposite. To a hungry fish or lobster, microplastics look like food. When animals consume microplastics, the toxins released can lead to internal infections. Plus, nobody wants to eat a lobster and bite into plastic. If we continue to use harmful plastics that break down easily, like the ones in plastic bags, we will be harming our oceans, and ourselves through consumption of water and seafood.


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