Plastic is everywhere and in everything — and Pennsylvania’s waterways are no exception.
On March 3, PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center released “Microplastics in Pennsylvania: A Survey of Waterways,” and the report’s findings were grim: Microplastics, or pieces of plastic smaller than a grain of rice, were found in all 53 popular Pennsylvania waterways that were sampled. With Americans producing 35 million tons of plastic waste every year, microplastics increasingly end up in our environment, waterways, marine animals — and even in human organs.
“The results of this study should set off alarms for all Pennsylvanians who love our state’s rivers and streams,” said Faran Savitz, PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center conservation associate. “The staggering amount of microplastics we found likely means that no river, lake, or stream is safe from this increasingly common contaminant.”
The report also outlines policy solutions to tackle the problem, including the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act, which includes single-use plastic bans and producer responsibility provisions.
Learn more about the report.
Learn more about our Zero Waste PA campaign.
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Photo: PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center Conservation Associate Faran Savitz joins state Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon in collecting water samples at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge in Philadelphia and Delaware Counties Pennsylvania. Credit: Hannah Pittel