Microplastics in the Ortega River and Body Wash (Science on the St. Johns)

Microplastics in the Ortega River and Body Wash (Science on the St. Johns)


(playful upbeat music) – Today I’m helping out
the St. Johns River Keeper on their microplastic awareness project. So here we have a sample from the Ortega River, and what we did was take a liter of water and filter it, and we found 39 microplastics
on this small sample. – Microfibers, which you
can find in our clothing such as fleece jackets,
nylons, polyesters, and so when you’re doing a load of laundry these microfibers actually get released into the water and then they go into our water treatment plants, which don’t have the abilities to filter them out, and so these microfibers actually get into our waterways such as
our rivers and lakes, and eventually into our oceans. So microplastics are basically little pieces of plastic that are considered about smaller than five millimeters and they’re found in our everyday products such as facial scrubs, deodorants, toothpaste, and come from major plastics such as water bottles that degrade over time from the sun
and from the weather. – Hi, so we’re talking about
microplastics and body scrubs. So right here in this Petri
dish are the microplastics. And you can see there’s a
lot of microplastics in here, and this is what gets put
back into the water system. – [Narrator] Microbeads
added to the body scrub for exfoliation are viewed
under the microscope. Microbeads like this are mistaken for fish eggs in waterways and are eaten by some animals,
transferring them into food webs. Impacts of microplastics on our waterways have been mounting. It is estimated that 8 trillion microbeads are entering our waterways every day and are impacting food
webs and ecosystems. As just one example,
recent research has shown that microplastics can
significantly reduce oyster reproduction when
the oysters ingest them. There is some good news on the horizon. Some companies have
stopped adding microbeads to their beauty products
and the US Government has passed a law that will ban adding microbeads to some products
over the next few years. However, there is still
a lot of work to be done to decrease microplastics
from entering our waterways. Fortunately advocacy groups and scientists are hard at work making a difference, but it will take all of us to truly reduce this microscopic threat
to our aquatic ecosystems. (upbeat playful music)

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