Today, the Chesapeake Bay Program Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) released a new report entitled, ‘Microplastics in the Chesapeake Bay and its Watershed: State of the Knowledge, Data Gaps, and Relationship to Management Goals’. This report provides a summary of the proceedings of a STAC-sponsored workshop on the state of the research, data needs, methodologies, and management needs for microplastics in the Bay and its watershed. This report also outlines specific recommendations identified by participants at the two-day workshop convened April 24-25, 2019.
The workshop was designed within the framework of an ecological risk assessment, treating microplastics in the environment similarly to other pollutants. With over 50 participants from government, academia, consulting and non-governmental organizations, this workshop examined current research and policy initiatives through presentations, followed by facilitated discussions on data gaps and needs.
Workshop participants concluded that microplastics pose a potential serious risk to successful restoration of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. As a result, the following recommendations are being presented to the Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) as urgent and immediate needs:
- The CBP should create a cross-GIT Plastic Pollution Action Team to address the growing threat of plastic pollution to the bay and watershed.
- The Scientific, Technical Assessment and Reporting Team should incorporate development of ERAs of microplastics into the CBP strategic science and research framework, and the Plastic Pollution Action Team should oversee the development of the Ecological Risk Assessments (ERAs) focused on assessment of microplastic pollution on multiple living resource endpoints.
- STAC should undertake a technical review of terminology used in microplastic research, specifically size classification and concentration units, and recommend uniform terminology for the CBP partners to utilize in monitoring and studies focused on plastic pollution in the bay and watershed.