B.C. waters threatened by microplastic pollution

In this unrelated photo, a blue rectangular piece of microplastic is visible on a woman’s finger. These tiny particles are polluting B.C. waters and are impacting aquatic life.

New research shows tiny pieces of plastic could pose a major threat to the waters off the B.C. coast.

In the summer of 2012, scientists from the Vancouver Aquarium and University of Victoria undertook the first survey of microplastic contamination off the B.C. coast. Their research, which was published last week in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin, shows tiny particles of plastic averaging about a half-millimetre in size are polluting local waters.

“[We’ve] seen these impact with photos of animals with their stomachs filled with plastics that are visible to the human eye. What we have not seen are pictures of the microscopic creatures at the bottom of the food chain and what plastics might be found in their bellies,” said Peter Ross, a co-author of the survey and the director of Vancouver Aquarium’s new ocean pollution research program.

Ross says the microplastics are being ingested by a crucial aquatic food source — plankton — and killing them.

“It fills up the stomach and they feel like they’ve got a belly full of food, but they have no nutrition associated with that. It’s simply a bit of plastic,” said Ross.

Read the full story here.

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About jensera

Jennifer Harrington is a Toronto-based illustrator, writer and graphic designer. She illustrated the best-selling children’s book series 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' which includes the titles 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' 'The Night Before a Canadian Christmas' and 'Canadian Jingle Bells.' She is also the owner of JSH Graphics, a boutique graphic design agency that specializes in print and web advertising. With her latest project, Eco Books 4 Kids, Jennifer has partnered with illustrator Michael Arnott to create a series of ecologically-themed ebooks for children. Her next book, 'Spirit Bear,' is due for release in the Summer of 2013. Jennifer offers two different school presentations for her 'Moose in a Maple Tree' collection, an illustration demonstration and a Christmas concert series, which can be booked at www.amooseinamapletree.com. She will be taking bookings for school readings of 'Spirit Bear' beginning in October 2013.

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