We’re planning a month-long whitewater kayak trip for the duration of May. But in addition to boating spring runoff, we also plan to collect water samples on every river we run.
What are we sampling for? Microplastics: any plastic particle smaller than 5mm in diameter. These tiny pieces are coming from the degradation of larger plastics, from the microbeads in your facewash, and even from washing your polar fleeces. The real problem arises when you look at all the toxins and heavy metals that can sorb on to these plastic fibers and particles (DDT, PCBs, HCH, etc). The microplastics that carry these toxins bioamplify, and have been found in more then just our seafood at the market: plastics have been found in table salt, in German beer, and in honey. Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation is a really cool nonprofit that pairs underfunded researchers with adventurer volunteers. Citizen science, it’s cool. In 2015 they started the Gallatin Microplastics Project here in Bozeman, rallying the kayakers, skiers, hikers, fisherman, all to collect samples from the Gallatin and its watershed. Preliminary data shows these microplastics turning up all over, even in those places we’d normally consider pristine. Marine microplastics have been studied for awhile, but the idea of freshwater microplastics has really just recently come onto the scene. Spread the word, check out ASC’s website, and think about all the single serving plastic you use daily. Science is cool. Adventure is cool. Nature is freakin’ awesome. Protect it.
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/157815738″>Water Sampling Gone Wild</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/kirrakirra”>Kirra Kirra</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>