Dropped on a suburban street and run over by a car, this plastic bottle top broke into more than 30 pieces. If street cleaners don’t get there first the next rain will wash most of them to a waterway that flows to Port Phillip Bay. They don’t just make the Bay untidy. They’re a serious threat to wildlife and the marine food chain.
In a recent project funded by the state government’s ‘Litter Hotspots’ program, Baykeeper teamed up with Yarra Riverkeeper to conduct manta-net trawls to measure micro-plastics (5 mm or less) in the Yarra and Maribyrnong Rivers. After 8 X half hour trawls conducted in each river between December to May, the Yarra is in front for the title of Melbourne’s most micro-plastic river. Based on the data collected, continuous (24/7) trawls over a year would capture 586,920 micro-plastics in the Yarra and 501,510 in the Maribyrnong; and that’s just for the 600 mm width of the net! The study also involved regular surveys on beaches for ‘nurdles’ (plastic pre-production pellets) which revealed an ongoing influx of nurdles into the Bay.
Click here for the full Micro-plastics study