Local microplastics study concluded; done in conjunction with Ireland project

The Westport Aquarium shared that they recently concluded a project to raise awareness of microplastics.

In a post, the aquarium said that the project, named “SeaLegs”, involved monitoring local water sources for microplastic litter.

According to maritime magazine Afloat, starting early this summer, teams from both America and Ireland sought to check for microplastics in local waterways. 

SeaLegs devices were made from recycled and upcycled materials, and the trawls took place in areas including the Humptulips River and Grays Harbor in Washington and Galway Bay in Ireland.

Six trials were conducted by the teams, according to the recap.

The project was said to be inspired by the BabyLegs project conducted by the Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research (CLEAR) that used baby tights, soda pop bottles, and other inexpensive items to trawl waterways for floating marine plastics either by hand or from a vessel.

Katherine Myrsell, director of Westport Aquarium, said in a release: “Kayakers and fishermen and many other water enthusiasts wondered why we were pulling a pair of baby leggings through the local waterways.” 

“After deploying the SeaLegs, there was a lot of work to sort and sieve the samples.

Trawling of the local waterways was done in conjunction with scientists concurrently studying the method in Galway, Ireland.

During a June trawl over Redman Slough, zero visible plastics were observed, according to a final report, although the study did find that every trawl did produce microplastics.


The findings are in the SeaLegs Project Report

Summary Findings, including team details and a link to the  SeaLegs Plastic Survey are here

Videos from the project are here