Quantifying Plastic Pollution Firsthand in NYC

Quantifying Plastic Pollution Firsthand in NYC

What lies below the surface of our oceans and rivers isn’t always what you’d hope for. Through our Water is Everything initiative, a group of committed Everything But Water employees and others participated in a trawl around New York City’s East River that revealed an alarming amount of plastic pollution. The data-collecting expedition was one of three that Everything But Water has organized around the country.

Joining Everything But Water in documenting the microplastics polluting the rivers around Manhattan were Dr. Marcus Eriksen, cofounder of the 5 Gyres Institute, scientists, journalists and vendors. The trawls conducted turned up an alarming amount of plastic debris, including three drinking straws in only 20 minutes. A consideration of that data led Marcus to suggest over 40,000 straws could be leaving Manhattan’s rivers and heading toward the ocean.

The health crisis such pollution is creating has gained widespread attention. New York state has passed legislation prohibiting businesses from selling, distributing or using single-use Styrofoam items. It’s also recently passed a ban on single-use plastic bags in the way California has. A proposed law banning plastic straws has not yet passed, but public momentum has meant many restaurants and cafes no longer supply them without request. While rescuing straws and other debris once they have entered the water can be difficult, making changes to keep them out in the first place, such as swearing off single use plastics, is not.

You can also help save our seas by participating in a casual cleanup, solo or with friends. The #trashtag movement is gaining momentum, and we are offering three amazing prizes to encourage shoppers to participate. See more information here.