Thursday, December 31, 2009

Team Marine Research!

On Sunday December 20, 2009 Santa Monica High School’s Team Marine visited the Venice Storm Drain at the end of Rose Avenue and the Pico-Kenter Storm Drain at Pico Blvd. to investigate the incidence of plastic pollution in the debris zone around stagnant pools of storm drain water. In a twenty-five minute beach cleanup at the Venice storm drain, three Team Marine members collected 12.5 pounds of plastic trash consisting of 128 colored wrappers, 127 Styrofoam pieces, 101 clear wrappers, 68 bottle caps, 35 straws, 23 misc. hard plastic pieces, 14 food containers and lids, 9 grocery store bags, 5 water bottles, and 2 utensils.
A more detailed study was performed at the Pico-Kenter site. Using 50 meter measuring tapes, 1081 plastic bottle caps, 240 straws, and 30 utensils were collected from a 643.25 m2 debris zone around the storm drain pool (Figures 1 and 2). These total abundances amounted to an average of 1.68 bottle caps, 0.37 straws, and 0.05 utensils per m2. For Pico-Kenter, Team Marine also sorted a random selection of plastic pollutants into categories to help identify exactly what is coming out of the storm drains and will be entering the ocean upon the next flush (Table 1).

Check out what our partner and friend Sara Bayles is doing to raise awareness about marine debris!

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