The Trash and Microplastics study element of the Southern California Bight 2023 Regional Monitoring Program is leveraging newly standardized methods for collecting and measuring microplastic particles to conduct a regional assessment of microplastics contamination in seafloor sediment and shellfish.
The Bight ’23 microplastics assessment, which kicked off in July, represents a dramatic step forward in how the Bight program collects, detects and quantifies microplastics – compared to a decade ago when the Bight program first conducted a regional survey of microplastics in sediment.
During Bight ’13, the smallest particles analyzed were 1 millimeter in size, and plastic type was determined via a float test plus reaction to treatment with various solvents. By contrast, Bight ’23 can analyze particles as small as 125 microns, and will use Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) and Raman spectroscopy to determine material type.
A key focus of the Bight ’23 microplastics assessment will be investigating how microplastics can potentially be transported from land-based sources into the ocean; researchers are collecting sediment samples from embayments, marinas, ports and the inner shelf
The Bight ’23 regional survey will also help California realize its goal of building a statewide microplastics monitoring network for the coastal ocean.
More news related to: Emerging Contaminants, Regional Monitoring, Southern California Bight Regional Monitoring Program, Trash Pollution