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C-HAWQ
COASTAL HEALTH & WATER QUALITY

MARINE PLASTICS

Experts estimate that up to 10% of all plastics produced globally accumulate in the ocean and in the North Pacific Gyre the zooplankton to plastic mass-ratio has been observed at 1 to 6. While large plastics have received attention due to their consumption by organisms, "microplastics" (<5mm), which originate from many consumer products and pass through wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), may be the bulk of plastics in the ocean. Hydrophobic organic contaminants are frequently transported on these plastics, which in addition to the plasticizers that leach from them, may be accumulating in marine organisms after ingestion. However, very little research has explored the sources of marine microplastics and their impacts to economically vital coastal ecosystems. In the future, the C-HaWQ lab will examine the presence of microplastics from Corpus Christi's 6 WWTPs in the local coastal bays as well as those in the Mississippi River and coastal waters of the northern GOM. Additional research will address the contaminants transported on these plastics and their environmental effects.

CORPUS CHRISTI BAY: 03/09/2016

I captured this video of plastic flowing into Corpus Christi Bay at a stormwater discharge culvert in Cole Park, one of 44 stormwater outfalls into the Bay. It is not as dramatic as Jace Tunnel's "All the Cups" video as I missed the "first flush," but it shows that there is constant debris entering our Bay during rain events.

The following videos, also from 03/09/16, were shared with me by another Corpus Christi resident.

Dr. Jeremy L. ConkleDepartment of Physical & Environmental SciencesTexas A&M UniversityCorpus Christi, TX 78412

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