Long Beach Researchers Combat Microplastics In Ocean

Captain Charles Moore is on a mission. “We must work towards a world where plastic pollution is unthinkable,” says Moore. He started the Long Beach-based nonprofit Algalita to study the effects urban runoff like sewage and lawn chemicals have on the ocean. He quickly changed his focus on how microplastics impact the environment and how to stop it.

Microplastics are fragments of plastic measuring less than 5mm. They can be found everywhere including in the marine food chain. This can disrupt the delicate ecosystems, devastating it for generations of countless sea life to come. Through sea food, microplastics have also found their way into humans.

Moore, a longtime resident of Alamitos Bay, takes the problem of microplastic pollution personally. “At first, it was shock and surprise, and really wonder, and now it’s become disgust and depression and anger at our inability to stop it,” he said. “This is my habitat and I need to do something to preserve it.”

To that end, Moore and his fellow researchers at Algalita work to educate the public and law makers, and get new legislature to combat the problem passed. In 2018, Long Beach approved a ban on single-use food and beverage containers made from polystyrene, commonly known as Styrofoam. The fight continues.

Learn more about microplastics in our October 2023 newsletter found here.