Stream of Eco-Consciousness

Adventure Scientists, Water Sample, temperature sample

Stream of Eco-Consciousness

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Katie Christiansen

According to two years of research by the Adventure Scientists, Gallatin Valley has a plastic problem. From September 2015 to June 2017, volunteers collected over 700 one-liter water samples from 72 sites throughout the Gallatin watershed, of which 58% contained microplastics. These non-decomposing, microscopic particles pose serious threats to aquatic life as they move through our waterways.

Overwhelmingly, the plastic particles polluting the Gallatin are microfibers, originating from some larger fibrous object. Most of the synthetic microfibers found in the Gallatin were polyester, also known as tiny, laundered-off pieces of your favorite fuzzy fleece. Unfortunately, a plastic problem is like a clingy boyfriend problem: it’s unlikely to go away anytime soon. That plastics are considered disposable—think plastic straws, grocery bags, bubble wrap—is problematic. The nasty truth about plastics is that they will long outlive us.

So, what can you do about this pesky problem, acknowledging that adequately addressing this issue requires global, systemic change? Hold on to those synthetically-derived items you already own, see if you can’t eliminate your single-use plastic needs, and give that (stinky) fleece another wear before tossing it in the wash. Bonus: this last step may also help with that needy boyfriend problem

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