Microplastics

School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology / University of Hawaii at Manoa

It started with an accident in a laboratory more than four years ago. But the findings looked intriguing, and a new researcher at the University of Hawaii was compelled to explore the relationship between plastics and greenhouse gases. The findings were published recently and the study’s author explains the impacts.

NOAA Marine Debris Program / Flickr
NOAA Marine Debris Program / Flickr

A statewide survey of ocean debris has created a snapshot in time to document where trash regularly washes ashore.

The survey was funded by the Japanese government to measure debris from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, but found less than 1% actually came from the disaster.

Most of the debris was from discarded fishing nets and trash, accumulating mostly in hotspots on the north and east shores of each island.  O‘ahu had less than 5% of the total debris identified in the study, while Ni‘ihau had the most.

NOAA Marine Debris Program / Flickr
NOAA Marine Debris Program / Flickr

HPR’s "Trashing Paradise" series continues with a look at the dangers of plastic runoff.