“I’m acutely aware of the plastic problem from a scientific standpoint,” says Abby. “But it’s different when you see gorgeous beaches filled with candy wrappers or plastic bottles, and realize that we haven’t seen a village in two days.”
Abby analyzes thousands of water samples sent from our volunteer adventurers from around the world in her lab in Maine. Our Global Microplastics Initiative maps and analyzes the spread and proliferation of plastic particles smaller than five mm that likely pose a massive environmental and human health risk when they enter our waterways.
Abby and the team walked on “feet and feet of compressed trash” being illegally dumped on unmonitored protected land that is filling in the mangroves in Bali. Communities of people subsist on this “new land,” which will eventually developed for tourism infrastructure.
“The hardest part to swallow is that these large pieces of plastic are soon going to be microplastics, and once that happens it’s hard to fathom how to get them out of our water systems.”
“Amir was so grateful that we were there. He showed me that this is not just a situation of outsiders coming in and saying it’s a problem. We need to arm individuals with the education and resources they need to drive change at a local level.”
“Change needs to come from many different levels. The easiest change to implement immediately is your personal choices.”
The Oceanic Society Expedition will be releasing a resolution and a few short films to showcase the beauty and trash of their experience soon.