Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Our Ocean: The Plastic Soup

Week 3- Ocean Pollution

This has been my third week at Save the Harbor Save the Bay. The week has been a great experience. Rather than catching fish on the Boston Children’s Museum on Monday, we caught various pieces of trash, realizing that although we have made a lot of progress in cleaning the Harbor, we still have much to do. On Wednesday, we caught a Blue Lobster that was technically a mixed gene lobster and were able to bring it back to the office. On Thursday, we had the largest group of the week with over 500 people coming to George’s Island. Many of the children caught crabs, the biggest of the catch of the day being a spider crab. We ended the week with a once in a lifetime experience where we go to Peddocks Island and help Park Rangers clear hiking trails overgrown with vegetation and weeds. The work was tough but through this experience,  I learned to appreciate the work of Park Rangers and the nature of the Boston Harbor Islands. 
Mixed-gene Blue Lobster

But the true topic of this blog is the observations I made while at the Museum on Monday. While just looking at the water, we realized how much trash, specifically plastic was still present in the water (one of us even caught a plastic bag). Plastic pollution is a huge problem, articles state that "we are turning our beautiful Ocean into a plastic soup”(Oceans Unite). Plastic is a durable, inexpensive and convenient. But their durability has become a major issue, plastic can last for more than 1000 years. At the rate at which plastics is entering the ocean, we will have more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050 (Le Geum 2018). Boston Harbor is also at risk, specifically facing the issue of microplastic. Microplastics are pieces of plastics that are 5 mm or shorter and were part of larger pieces of plastic. These little pieces of plastic can be dangerous for animals if ingested.  When animals ingest these microplastics, they can decompose within their body and release toxic chemicals. People who eat seafood are at risk of being exposed to these toxic chemicals as well. Although there is no definite proof of the health effects of fish contained with microplastics, we do not know how they react under high temperatures when cooking or how the plastic will be absorbed by the organs and tissue of the human body. 
An image of microplastics, so we can understand how truly small they are!

The issue of Ocean pollution will not go away overnight. It will take efforts from everyone, from big businesses to individuals. In terms of corporations, Bostonians can urge them to find other sustainable alternatives than plastic, especially when it comes to the packaging of products, such as beeswax wrap. As individuals, we need to accept our responsibility in our plastic disposal. Small solutions can be incorporated such as using reusable grocery bags instead of one-use plastic bags, using reusable water containers rather than plastic bottles.  Nobody is perfect but by just making small efforts to help the problem, we are contributing to the overall betterment of our oceans. Starting this summer and from now on, I will try to more of an effort to change my bad habits that are affecting our Boston Harbor. 

Stay Informed and Make a Change!

See you on the Harbor!

Works Cited (and sources to read further into!)


Le Geum, Claire. “When The Mermaids Cry: The Great Plastic Tide.” Plastic Pollution, Mar. 2018,

Earth / World Media Foundation / Public Radio International. “Testing Boston Harbor for Plastic.” Living on Earth, 5 June 2015,

Fonseca , MarĂ­a, et al. “” The Impact of Microplastics on Food Safety: the Case of Fishery and Aquaculture Products  | GLOBEFISH | Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations,

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