Scientists with Ocean Wise gathered water samples outside Canada Place in Coal Harbour this month, finding a total of 1,258 particles of microplastics in one cubic metre of seawater.
“We have found microplastic particles in every sample of seawater we’ve analyzed from around the world, and Vancouver, despite being one of the world’s greenest cities, is no exception,” explained Dr. Peter Ross, vice-president of research at Ocean Wise.
“This microscopic plastic pollution is coming from many sources, including plastic from single-use items that have broken down over time in the ocean.”
In response to the findings, Ocean Wise is launching a #BePlasticWise pledge campaign, calling on British Columbians to reduce their plastic waste from single-use items and other sources.
Upon signing up, participants will receive monthly lifestyle challenges to help them reduce single use plastic over the course of a year.
“The threat of plastic waste in our ocean is a real challenge to both aquatic life and marine ecosystems,” said Dr. John Nightingale, Ocean Wise president and CEO.
“Plastic contamination is found from pole to pole, so the high levels of microplastics we’re finding in an ocean city as green as Vancouver raise the question: what does this mean for other parts of the world that are not as pristine?”