SFEI scientists process microplastic samples collected from San Francisco Bay.

Nov 24, 2017

SFEI and The 5 Gyres Institute have launched an ambitious two-year research project to monitor San Francisco Bay for pollution in the form of tiny particles of plastic pollution, reports ABC7 News. These microplastic particles are eaten by local fish, according to previous studies, which can expose them to harmful contaminants. 

ABC7 reporters explains: "Researchers will be testing for microplastic in many parts of San Francisco Bay, as well as in protected marine sanctuaries outside the Golden Gate, and in water from storm drains and wastewater treatment plants that run into the Bay. Scientists already know some of the plastic bits found in the bay are from toothpaste and facial scrubs that will be phased out over the next couple years by law.

"Now they want to learn more about tiny hair-like plastic that is believed to come from synthetic clothes and fleece that shed fibers when they are washed."

This ongoing research project is primarily funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, with contributions from the Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality in San Francisco Bay, the outdoor clothing company Patagonia, and the East Bay Municipal Utility District; San Francisco Baykeeper is providing in-kind support as well.
 

By: 
Jennifer Olney
Other Contributors: 
Carolynn Box
Programs and Focus Areas: 
Clean Water Program
Bay Regional Monitoring Program
Microplastic