Madelyn Woods of the Marine Environmental Research Institute will speak about ocean plastics as part of a program at the Southwest Harbor Public Library on Jan. 9. PHOTO COURTESY OF MADELYN WOODS, MERI

Ocean plastics a growing problem

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — The perils of plastics in the ocean will be discussed at the Southwest Harbor Public Library on Tuesday, Jan. 9, at 5:30 p.m.

Plastics are everywhere. They are inexpensive and extremely versatile, but they also last for hundreds of years. In the last 10 years, more plastic has been produced than during the 20th century. Pollution from macro to microplastics impacts our waters, marine life, the human food chain and overall human health.

This summer, the Marine and Environmental Research Institute studied microplastic concentrations in Blue Hill Bay off Mount Desert Island. Madelyn Woods, marine research coordinator, will discuss the results and the sources, fate and impacts of microplastics in the environment.

A Climate to Thrive’s zero waste committee will facilitate this community discussion on how to tackle single-use plastic packaging, which makes up a quarter of the 8 million tons of plastic waste that flows into the oceans each year. The most effective things that individuals, local businesses and governments can do to promote reusable containers and biodegradable packaging will be examined. Audience members are invited to share ideas about how to make MDI more environmentally sustainable. Light refreshments will be provided.

Woods has a master’s degree in marine science from Jacksonville University. She recently moved from Florida, where she was working as an environmental consultant for a water stewardship nonprofit. She is currently charged with overseeing the water quality monitoring program, addressing new and existing threats to the environment and human health, including the abundance and impacts of microplastics in the marine and global food web.

Call the library at 244-7065.


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