MIAMI – “Biscayne Bay is at a tipping point. It’s at a crisis,” City of Miami Commissioner Ken Russell said on Wednesday.
The crisis is caused, in part, by the pollution of plastic into Biscayne Bay and the Miami River.
“We have micro plastics, we have bottles, we have Styrofoam. All of these things are leading to the sea grass die off, the fish kills, the low oxygen levels,” Russell said.
The problem is so pervasive that the city is now partnering with the Ocean Conservancy and other research groups to conduct what’s called a “circulatory assessment protocol,” or CAP, which studies how and where the plastics are coming from.
“We don’t just look at what ends up on the ground, that’s just one component,” Dr. Jenna Jambeck, of the University of Georgia, said. “But we also look at what’s kind of coming into a community, what people talk about and what their perceptions are about plastic and the material.”
Officials say it’s the first time a study like this has been done in the United States.
After surveying the area for the next 10 days, the scientists will then analyze their data before compiling a final report, to be presented to the city.
“When we find something in the ground, we say what is it? How did it get here? And then, what will we do about it?” Jambeck said.
Officials hope the detailed study will lead to some concrete solutions.
“All of these things affect our bay, which affects our lives,” Russell said.