Plastic pollution from the planet’s oceans is now a worldwide ecological catastrophe. Lots of individuals have seen pictures that appear to catch it, like shores wrought with plastic garbage or even a seahorse gripping a cotton swab with its own tail.
As a scientist exploring marine plastic pollution, I believed I’d seen a whole lot.
She was searching for advice on an odd environmental issue. While diving from the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary near town of Carmel by the sea, Alex and her buddy Jack Johnston had come across large quantities of golf balls on the sea floor.
As environmentally conscious teenagers, they began removing golf balls out of the water, one by one. From now Alex contacted mepersonally, they’d recovered over 10,000 golf balls over half a lot.
Golf balls sink, therefore that they do not become eyesores for prospective golfers and beachgoers. Because of this, this problem had gone mostly unnoticed. However, Alex had stumbled upon something large: a point source of marine debris just one which comes in a single, recognizable location polluting federally protected oceans. Our recently published study details the range of this unexpected marine pollutant and a number of ways that it might impact marine life.
Cleaning Up The Clutter
Alex wanted to make an enduring solution for this issue. I advised her that the means to do it was to thoroughly organize and systematically list all upcoming golf club collections. Our aim was to generate a peer-reviewed scientific paper documenting the range of the issue, and also to suggest a plan of activity for golf courses to tackle it.
And after Alex’s encouragement, Pebble Beach workers began to recover golf balls from shores beside their own course, amassing over 10,000 extra balls.
In total, we gathered 50,681 golf balls in the coastline and shallow waters.
The Toxicity Of Golf Balls
Contemporary golf balls are made from a polyurethane elastomer casing plus a synthetic rubber center. Producers include nitric oxide, zinc acrylate and benzoyl peroxide into the good core for versatility and endurance. These chemicals are also acutely hazardous to marine life.
If golf balls are hit to the sea, they instantly sink to the floor. What’s more, if the chunks split into little fragments, birds, fish or other creatures could take them.
The vast majority of the chunks we gathered showed just light wear. Some may have been resold and also played. But, others were seriously degraded and fragmented by the constant mechanical act of waves and unremitting swell at the lively intertidal and nearshore environments. We estimated that over 60 lbs of irrecoverable microplastic were shed in the chunks we gathered.
Because of Alex Weber, we know that golf balls erode in sea with time, making dangerous microplastics. Recovering the chunks shortly as soon as they are struck to the sea is 1 way to mitigate their effects. Originally, golf course supervisors were amazed by our customs, however today they’re working together with the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary to deal with issue.
Alex is also working together with supervisors in the sanctuary to come up with cleanup processes that may stop golf ball contamination in these waters from reaching these amounts. Though her research was neighborhood, her findings are painful for different areas with coastal golf courses.