Plastics and Our World By Dr. Allison Fitzgerald January 2, 2019 Lately it seems like every time you turn on the news you are bombarded with news about plastic pollution. “Sperm whale found with 115 cups and 80 plastic bags in its stomach,” “A new town in NJ passes a plastic bag ban,” “Groups petition Gov. Murphy to ban the straw across the state.” Frankly, it’s enough to scare even the hardiest environmentalist! How can we ever overcome this massive problem? How can we fight against polluters and government and big business? What will happen to us? To our children and their children? The truth is, no one knows. What we do know is that we can’t stop fighting. We can’t stop trying to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Every little bit helps and it does add up! The onslaught of plastic pollution in our waters originates on land, in our homes and neighborhoods, and it’s up to us to stop the cycle. This winter, NY/NJ Baykeeper will be revamping and relaunching our Plastics program, refocusing on education and citizen science. In past years, Baykeeper has used our boats and trawls to sample for microplastics (tiny pieces of plastic pollution that inhabit ALL our local waters). Now, its your turn. I can’t wait to share with you what we will be doing this summer and how you can get involved. In the meantime, I’d like to share with you some small ways you can help to reduce the input of plastics to our local waters. Remember, microplastics don’t always start small! A lot of times they are from the breakdown of larger pieces of plastic such as straws and bottle caps.