Spatial distribution of plastic pollutants in a transit from Puget Sound to outside Nootka Sound Canada
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[author abstract] The study of microplastic pollution is relatively new in the science of oceanography, with the first paper published in 1972. Since then, many papers have been written in attempts to gain a better understanding of how and where these plastics congregate in the world’s oceans, and what issues arise in turn. Succinctly, this problem is ubiquitous and openly threatens all marine biota. This paper examines the link between higher concentrations of plastics with anthropogenically active and highly populated regions. Six stations were sampled for surface plastics in Puget Sound, starting near Seattle, WA and ending in the open waters outside of Nootka Sound, Canada. A modified Manta net was deployed at each station. The samples were sieved, the plastic pieces picked out under a microscope, counted, and placed into labelled sample jars. Analysis showed higher concentrations were found within Puget Sound, and lower concentrations in the open ocean. A spike towards the high concentration end was also measured near Victoria, B.C. This study furthers the continuous realization that our ocean waters are accumulating plastic pollution, and the largest concentrations are found in waters adjacent to large populations of people and industrial activity.