Posted by: The ocean update | August 19, 2016

Filtering sand for microplastics can save sea mammals (Oregon, USA)

Haystack Rock Awareness Program coordinator Melissa Keyser educates beachgoers on how microplastics harm sea birds and other marine life. Photo Lyra Fontaine

Haystack Rock Awareness Program coordinator Melissa Keyser educates beachgoers on how microplastics harm sea birds and other marine life. Photo Lyra Fontaine

August 19th, 2016 (Lyra Fontaine). What’s in the sand and how it impacts beach life is a matter of concern for environmentalists and nature-lovers. Haystack Rock Awareness Program and Sleepy Monk Coffee partnered with Sea Turtles Forever to start what they hope will become a monthly microplastics cleanup event, which would be open to the public and at different beach locations.

Participants from Sleepy Monk Coffee and Haystack Rock Awareness Program were hard at work filtering sand for microplastics — tiny plastic bits that can harm sea mammals or sea birds when ingested.

On Aug. 10, the small team used a microplastics filtration system with static-charged technology. The screen helps make filtering for tiny plastics easier and is patented by Marc Ward, president of Sea Turtles Forever, a nonprofit organization dedicated to marine turtle conservation.

When curious passerby stopped at the education stand on the beach, Haystack Rock Awareness Program coordinator Melissa Keyser helped them learn about nurdles, tiny pellets of raw plastic that float and look like food to birds and fish. Keyser educated beach visitors on both the problem of plastic debris and solutions.

The group worked near Haystack Rock, but some areas on the beach, like Whale Park, have a denser amount of debris.

“We picked up as much as we can,” Frances Holtman, Haystack Rock Awareness Program volunteer coordinator, said. “A lot of people learned about microplastics today.”

The next cleanup is on Sep. 28.

Some small plastics filtered by Haystack Rock Awareness Program and Sleepy Monk Coffee participants, using a Sea Turtles Forever patented filtration screen. Photo Lyra Fontaine.

Some small plastics filtered by Haystack Rock Awareness Program and Sleepy Monk Coffee participants, using a Sea Turtles Forever patented filtration screen. Photo Lyra Fontaine.

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