BAR HARBOR — In celebration of World Oceans Day June 8, and in response to the impact of plastic pollution on marine life, the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. hosted a beach cleanup at Hadley Point and Hulls Cove.
In two hours, participants collected 142 pieces of litter, including 25 plastic bottles, 15 metal cans, 12 pieces of fishing rope, 11 plastic bags, 11 pieces of Styrofoam, two pieces of clothing, a lobster trap, and more.
While collecting trash, the group used a citizen science mobile app, Marine Debris Tracker, to capture the coverage of litter.
“We believe that choosing to limit our use of plastics and helping to cleanup our local beaches can make a positive impact on our environment and health,” naturalist Anna Kropornicka said.
According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 32 percent of the millions of tons of plastic waste generated in 2018 made its way into the natural environment, including into the ocean. Over 60 percent of seabirds and all sea turtles surveyed have been shown to harbor pieces of plastics. Plastics have been found in seafood and the impact of indirectly digested microplastics to humans is still not understood.
The whale watch attempts to use environmentally friendly products on its vessels and will begin selling metal straws during tours this season. The company is also involved in the Whale SENSE program, which promotes environmental stewardship.
The company hopes to expand the beach cleanup initiative to more MDI beaches in the future. Contact [email protected]