California officials approved an all-inclusive plan to minimize microplastic pollution in the Ocean
A little while back, California officials announced that they approved a plan to stop the rapidly increasing pollution of microplastics in the ocean After conducting more studies on how microplastic pollution is becoming a threat to fish, marine mammals, and potentially to humans, the state panel approved the plan on Wednesday.
Microplastics are small plastic pieces less than five millimeters long which can be harmful to our ocean and aquatic life. Microplastics come from the breakdown of plastic bags, bottles and wraps, fishing gear, and containers. A 2019 study of San Francisco Bay shocked the researchers. The study reports say, the largest source of microplastics was the tiny particles from vehicle tires that washed from streets into the bay.
The different types of chemicals in the microplastics will harm fish and other sea creatures. These chemicals cause tissue inflammation, stunting growth and harming reproduction. So, the comprehensive plan by California to minimize the pollution will help us to strengthen aquatic life.
California is the first state to endorse an all-inclusive plan to control pollution. The state is planning to ban plastic-laden cigarette filters and polystyrene drinking cups.
“What this action says is that we have to deal immediately with what has become a global environmental catastrophe,” said Mark Gold, executive director of the Ocean Protection Council. “We are moving ahead, while we continue to learn more about the science.”
Each year, 11 million metric tons of plastic spill into the ocean, researchers estimates. The amount could triple by 2040, the state’s report says. “By reducing pollution at its source, we safeguard the health of our rivers, wetlands, and oceans, and protect all of the people and nature that depends on these waters,” said Wade Crowfoot, Secretary of California Natural Resources.
According to the plan, the state will take 22 actions to minimize the pollution, some actions are designed to eliminate plastic waste at the source, others actions are designed to cut off the plastic waste before it gets into the air, storm drains, and sewers. Additionally, some actions are meant to enlighten the public about microplastic pollution.
Years ago, environmental groups have already found that microplastic-laden cigarette butts are the most common form of trash in beach cleanups.
According to the Ocean Protection Agency, California is planning to prohibit the sale and distribution of cigarette filters, electronic cigarettes, plastic cigar tips, and unrecyclable tobacco product packaging this year. The group also recommended a ban on polystyrene foodware and packaging, which includes Styrofoam.
“Solving the problem requires that we stop or greatly reduce microplastics at their source,” said Warner Chabot, executive director of San Francisco Estuary Institute “There is no quick fix and a range of options for a solution.”
Water Resources Control Board officials are working on a policy to set safety guidelines for the levels of microplastics that will be permissible in drinking water.
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