Plastic Waste and Microplastics on City Island Living Shoreline

As the name suggests, microplastics are small pieces of plastic measuring less than five millimeters (Galoustian, 2022). These tiny particles may have broken off from larger pieces of plastic, or they may intentionally have been made small, such as microbeads in cosmetic products (9 in 10 Cosmetics Contain Microplastics, 2022). These microplastics pose a grave threat to the environment and animals (including humans) within the environment. Just on the surface waters of oceans in the world, there are about 51 trillion pieces of microplastics (Galoustian, 2022). Because we often see plastics on our living shoreline, this summer, we, at City Island Oyster Reef (CIOR), continued our research on microplastics and their effects on the environment.

Plastics and Microplastics on Shoreline

Although CIOR does not collect data on plastics along our shoreline, we recognize that everyone can have an impact on plastic waste. We have joined organizations with similar concerns, such as the Galveston Bay Foundation[1] and the Florida Microplastic Awareness Project,[2] in addressing microplastics and their dangers.  We recognize that by using fewer plastic products, everyone can help eradicate harmful plastic waste in our waters. Accordingly, we seek to raise awareness about the issue.

CIOR found a willing ally in City Island’s local public school, P.S. 175. We spent the summer working to create a microplastic curriculum for middle-school science students. This curriculum will focus on the dangers of microplastics to our environment and on raising awareness to create advocates for positive change in our communities. P.S. 175 has adopted the curriculum, and this school year, seventh-graders will learn about microplastics and their effect on the environment. We hope this curriculum will spread to other schools in The Bronx, throughout the State of New York, and beyond. We hope that, as awareness is raised, solutions can be found and achieved.

Joey Crain, CIOR Intern


[1] See www.galvbay.org.

[2] See https://flseagrant.ifas.ufl.edu/microplastics/.

Galoustian, G. (2022, February 2). FAU | FAU Scientists Uncover ‘Missing’ Plastics Deep in the Ocean. Florida Atlantic University. Retrieved September 18, 2023, from http://www.fau.edu/newsdesk/articles/missing-microplastics-ocean.php.

9 in 10 Cosmetics Contain Microplastics (2022, April 6). Plastic Soup Foundation. Retrieved September 18, 2023, from https://www.plasticsoupfoundation.org/en/2022/04/almost-9-in-10-products-from-major-cosmetics-brands-contain-microplastics/ (9 in 10 Cosmetics Contain Microplastics, 2022).