Microplastics

Sustainable Downbeach receives statewide recognition for microplastics campaign

Photo by STEVE JASIECKI/Microplastic shards litter the sidewalks and streets in Margate.

By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY

MARGATE – Members of Sustainable Downbeach green teams received statewide recognition for their efforts to prevent the proliferation of microplastics contamination coming from construction sites at the Jersey Shore.

Their collective efforts to prevent plastic particles generated through the cutting and drilling of plastic building products, such as TREX and AZAK, from leaching into the ground and polluting stormwater, was the lead story in the Sustainable Jersey “Sustainability in Action” newsletter that’s distributed to 466 municipalities participating in the statewide environmental program.

Sustainable Margate chairman Steve Jasiecki and other Downbeach green teams are working to get other towns take proactive steps to fighting plastic pollution by passing ordinances or resolutions that require the construction community to adopt simple measures to prevent microplastic dust from getting into storm drains and eventually into the ocean, where they are ingested by fish that ultimately make it to the kitchen table.

Margate passed a resolution in March requiring builders to use saws with vacuum attachments, confine cutting areas, use tarps to protect the ground and properly dispose of plastic particles in the proper manner. Hamilton Township and Somers Point have followed suit. Neighboring Longport and Monmouth Beach participated with a more restrictive ordinance. Longport’s ordinance is up for a public hearing at the July 17 Board of Commissioners meeting being held at Borough Hall.

“A resolution is good, but an ordinance is better,” Jasiecki was quoted as saying in the newsletter story.

Green team members also created easy to understand flyers to distribute to contractors when they obtain their building permits, which they are sharing with other municipalities.

To date, green team members report that the educational campaign is working, and builders, who were previously unaware of the dangers of microplastics pollution, are complying with the new regulations.

Plastic particles do not decompose and can enter the food chain causing endocrine, digestive and respiratory issues in animals, marine life and humans. When plastic particles enter the ecosystem through storm drains, they eventually wind up in the bay and ocean, are consumed by fish, and then the fish are eaten by humans. Dogs, cats and rabbits may also sniff or eat microplastics left on the ground.

Read the Sustainable Jersey story here.

Longport introduces clean and safe worksites ordinance

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