Microplastics all around us

SUNY Orange to host April 11 lecture on how plastics are polluting the Hudson River

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  • Plastics and microplastics debris collected along the shoreline of the Fishkill Creek.

  • Students volunteering for the Beacon Institute netting microplastics in Fishkill Creek.

  • Asher Pacht, director of Environmental Programs at Beacon Institute.

— Plastic is the most prevalent type of marine debris found in the ocean and Great Lakes, According to the National Oceanic and atmospheric Administration.

Plastic debris can come in all shapes and sizes, but those that are less than five millimeters in length (or about the size of a sesame seed) are called "microplastics."

Microplastics come from a variety of sources, including from larger plastic debris that degrades into smaller and smaller pieces. These tiny particles easily pass through water filtration systems and end up in the ocean and Great Lakes, posing a potential threat to aquatic life.”

On Wednesday, April 11, at 7 p.m., join Asher Pacht, director of Environmental Programs at Beacon Institute, for a lively discussion as he offers a look at what is now known about microplastics on a local level - in the Hudson River estuary and beyond.

Come to the OBTC Great Room 101 in Kaplan Hall, which overlooks the majestic Hudson River, for his presentation Microplastics in the Hudson: forever or just for now?

He will explain what microplastics are and what are the sources of those found in the Hudson.

How widespread are they?

How can they affect animals and humans?

He will also discuss whether plastic can ever disappear?

“Placing this in the context of wider efforts at ecosystem restoration and the role of citizen science for the Hudson, the story is impactful but also hopeful," Pacht said. "This is an easier issue to address locally than is climate change, for instance.”

He will offer specific ideas and remedies that students and citizens can do with affordable real-time technology.

Since 2012, Pacht has engaged in water research and education programs at Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries.

He led a Hudson watershed-based microplastics research and media project in 2017 under a yearlong grant from N.Y.S. Pollution Prevention Institute.

He holds a BA from Northeastern University and earned his MPA at NYU where he focused on eco-leadership and water resources.

Beacon Institute formalized a strategic alliance with Clarkson University, becoming a subsidiary of Clarkson.

Today, Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries of Clarkson University is leveraging science and technology to understand and protect rivers, estuaries, and other important freshwater resources to ensure safe water for the health and vitality of local communities.

EssentialsThis Cultural Affairs program is free and open to the public. For more information, send an email to cultural@sunyorange.edu, call 845 341-9386, or check out the SUNY Orange website at: www.sunyorange.edu/culturalaffairs.

Kaplan Hall is located at the corner of Grand and First Streets, Newburgh. Free and secure parking is available in the Kaplan Hall garage accessible at 73 First St.

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June Johnson
  • Feb 15, 2019


Warwick, NY