MOREHEAD CITY — Carteret County residents and others have an opportunity to join the N.C. Coastal Federation for a virtual forum on the issue of microplastic pollution.
The NCCF is teaming up with experts from around the country to host the North Carolina Microplastics Forum from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday. The public is invited to register for this free virtual event to learn about microplastic pollution and how to reduce it.
Microplastics are tiny particles less than 5 millimeters in size, according to the NCCF. They are small, but they are everywhere, including in the seafood we eat and the water we drink. It’s alarming, but the average person ingests about 100,000 pieces of microplastic, or more, per year without knowing it, the NCCF said.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, microplastics come from many sources. Some start out as larger plastic debris that breaks down into smaller pieces of plastics. Since plastic is the leading form of marine debris, a lot of it ends up in the ocean where it degrades into these smaller microplastic particles.
Microplastics also come in the form of microfibers. These are synthetic or processed fibers, such as those released from clothing when it's washed, or shed from plastic tarps, tires, carpets, furniture, fishing line, ropes, nets and cigarette butts.
The impact of microplastic pollution is a major public health and environmental issue, according to the NCCF. Participants in the free event will learn from experts about the sources of microplastics and their impacts on human health and the environment. In addition, speakers will discuss regulatory and legal avenues for addressing microplastic pollution and future actions for reducing and preventing microplastic pollution.
Expert presenters include Bonnie Monteleone, Plastic Ocean Project; Dr. Richard Venditti and Dr. Marielis Zambrano, N.C. State University; Emily Sutton, Haw Riverkeeper; Dr. Susanne Brander, Oregon State University; Dr. Scott Coffin, California State Water Resources Control Board; Sarah Morath, Wake Forest University; Adam Saslow, Kearns & West; Sarah Latshaw, NOAA Marine Debris; Julie Patton Lawson, Washington, D.C. mayor’s office; and Ana Zivanovic-Nenadovic and Todd Miller, NCCF.
A complete agenda and registration information are available at the website nccoast.org/event/north-carolina-coastal-microplastics-forum/.