Presenter/Author Information

Kenneth J. Campbell, The Ikkatsu ProjectFollow

Type of Presentation

Oral

Session Title

Plastic in the Salish Sea

Description

Current estimates calculate that there are more than five trillion pieces of plastic floating in the world’s oceans. Annual plastic production worldwide is almost 300 million metric tons, much of it going into into single-use or “disposable” products. As much as 12 million metric tons a year is washed out to sea, joining the enormous cloud of plastic that is already there. The same plastic-related problems that exist in the oceans can be found in the Salish Sea, with plastic fibers and fragments being detected in local shellfish as well as in water and the sediment samples. In an effort to increase understanding and to engage the public, a kayak was constructed out of discarded plastic bottles and paddled from Olympia to Bellingham, serving as a data collection platform as well as a metaphor for the problem. The project was a unique blend of adventure and information and presented people along the route with the facts about marine debris in Puget Sound and options on how to get involved with this issue, from beach cleanups to art to citizen science. Students from various communities collaborated on trip projects, both during and after the voyage. Specifics of the 150-mile, 14-day trip included static water sampling for microplastics, with an average of 16 pieces of plastic per liter. Further data collection included 4 standing stock beach surveys, using NOAA protocol, that documented plastic and other debris in selected quadrats in north Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands. The trip also included 5 presentations en route, with 275 people in attendance, and 5 beach cleanups at points along the way. It is critical that the public understand the threats that plastic poses to the marine environment, and how each individual can have a positive impact on the health of the Salish Sea.

Comments

This project was a part of my Master's Thesis (MSES, Green Mountain College); I also have a 22-minute film. The film is online at: https://vimeo.com/123829921

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Message in a Plastic Bottle; Marine Debris in Puget Sound

2016SSEC

Current estimates calculate that there are more than five trillion pieces of plastic floating in the world’s oceans. Annual plastic production worldwide is almost 300 million metric tons, much of it going into into single-use or “disposable” products. As much as 12 million metric tons a year is washed out to sea, joining the enormous cloud of plastic that is already there. The same plastic-related problems that exist in the oceans can be found in the Salish Sea, with plastic fibers and fragments being detected in local shellfish as well as in water and the sediment samples. In an effort to increase understanding and to engage the public, a kayak was constructed out of discarded plastic bottles and paddled from Olympia to Bellingham, serving as a data collection platform as well as a metaphor for the problem. The project was a unique blend of adventure and information and presented people along the route with the facts about marine debris in Puget Sound and options on how to get involved with this issue, from beach cleanups to art to citizen science. Students from various communities collaborated on trip projects, both during and after the voyage. Specifics of the 150-mile, 14-day trip included static water sampling for microplastics, with an average of 16 pieces of plastic per liter. Further data collection included 4 standing stock beach surveys, using NOAA protocol, that documented plastic and other debris in selected quadrats in north Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands. The trip also included 5 presentations en route, with 275 people in attendance, and 5 beach cleanups at points along the way. It is critical that the public understand the threats that plastic poses to the marine environment, and how each individual can have a positive impact on the health of the Salish Sea.