Plastics are known to be a major pollutant in marine waters, since they pose a danger to wildlife and are not biodegradable. A recent survey by the NY/NJ Baykeeper estimates that there are 165 million plastic particles floating in the NY/NJ harbor estuaries, endangering the region.
The study took samples from 18 locations in harbor waters, selected due to their proximity to combined sewer-outfall pipes. They included sites near Sandy Hook, Perth Amboy, Morris Canal, Arthur Kill, and Upper and Lower Newark Bay, as well as various sites in New York.
The samples found that 85 percent of the particles were from microplastics and 38 percent consisted of plastic foam.
On average, New Jersey waters produced about 50 percent fewer particles, but the report said it was not clear whether this was statistically significant without more study.