Microplastics found in every sampled Pennsylvania waterway

Plastic is everywhere and in everything — and Pennsylvania’s waterways are no exception. 

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Mary Katherine Moore
Creative Associate

Author: Mary Katherine Moore

Creative Associate

Started on staff: 2020
B.A., magna cum laude, Boston University

Mary Katherine creates print and digital content with the Creative Team for The Public Interest Network, with a focus on Environment America and its state affiliates. Mary Katherine lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she enjoys reading, running, baking and hiking.

Plastic is everywhere and in everything — and Pennsylvania’s waterways are no exception. 

On March 3, PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center released “Microplastics in Pennsylvania: A Survey of Waterways,” and the report’s findings were grim: Microplastics, or pieces of plastic smaller than a grain of rice, were found in all 53 popular Pennsylvania waterways that were sampled. With Americans producing 35 million tons of plastic waste every year, microplastics increasingly end up in our environment, waterways, marine animals — and even in human organs. 

“The results of this study should set off alarms for all Pennsylvanians who love our state's rivers and streams," said Faran Savitz, PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center conservation associate. "The staggering amount of microplastics we found likely means that no river, lake, or stream is safe from this increasingly common contaminant." 

The report also outlines policy solutions to tackle the problem, including the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act, which includes single-use plastic bans and producer responsibility provisions. 

Learn more about the report. 

Learn more about our Zero Waste PA campaign. 

ASK PENNSYLVANIA LAWMAKERS TO BAN FOAM CONTAINERS

Moving beyond plastic foam is something we can do right now, right here. If we win, we’ll see a difference in cleaner beaches and parks, and we’ll know it’s making a difference to the wildlife in our rivers, lakes and oceans.

Let’s choose wildlife over waste. Tell our governor and lawmakers to ban plastic foam take-out cups and containers.

Photo: PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center Conservation Associate Faran Savitz joins state Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon in collecting water samples at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge in Philadelphia and Delaware Counties Pennsylvania. Credit: Hannah Pittel

Mary Katherine Moore
Creative Associate

Author: Mary Katherine Moore

Creative Associate

Started on staff: 2020
B.A., magna cum laude, Boston University

Mary Katherine creates print and digital content with the Creative Team for The Public Interest Network, with a focus on Environment America and its state affiliates. Mary Katherine lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she enjoys reading, running, baking and hiking.