NY/NJ Baykeeper unveils platform to educate, engage on plastic in area waterways

Coastal Issues

Spot plastic in and around area waterways and want to report it? There’s a new tool for that.

NY/NJ Baykeeper, a New Jersey-based environmental organization, today unveiled baykeeperplasticstory.org, a new website that tells the story of plastic pollution and allows and urges readers who rely on the harbor as a source of recreation, inspiration, or industry to become deeply engaged in the issue (message PLASTIC to the organization’s Facebook page to engage).

“We have a responsibility to protect and keep our waterways clean and healthy so they can be enjoyed by all,” said Sandra Meola, NY/NJ Baykeeper Communications and Outreach Associate. “Our research provides evidence of just how prevalent plastic pollution is in our waters. We need to keep up the fight to gather more data and create innovative strategies to alleviate the problem.”

Through use of animation, illustration, photography and a compelling layout, baykeeperplasticstory.org steeps readers deep inside NY/NJ Baykeeper’s plastic research data as they trawl the harbor for plastics and explores how the problem came to be.

The narrative explores plastic’s history and the harmful impacts associated with the non-biodegradable material. Instead of biodegrading, the sun’s light and water currents shred plastic into tiny pieces, known as microplastic. Microplastic is defined as particles smaller than 5mm, or about the size of a grain of rice. Plastic can absorb harmful chemicals such as flame retardants and DDT and be mistaken by fish and birds for food. At least 663 species are impacted by plastic pollution, according to the USEPA.

The platform also provides the opportunity to advocate for policy change and stay engaged through a call to action button that invites readers to join the conversation on NY/NJ Baykeeper’s Groundsource-powered channels.

At least 165 million plastic pieces are floating within the waters of the New York Harbor, according to NY/NJ Baykeeper’s 2016 research — the first examination of plastic pollution in waters surrounding New York City. Approximately 85 percent of plastics counted were microplastics.

Above image: Creative Commons