Swan River Plastic Resin Pellet Report

Plastic resin pellets are ubiquitous in the marine environment and as a micro plastic pollutant they are readily available to a large proportion of the marine food web. Their harm potential comes firstly from ingestion causing blockages, obstructions and a false sense of satiation leading to starvation.

Fish, birds and turtles have all been recorded as having ingested pellets. (1) Their second harm potential comes from their capacity over time to absorb persistent organic pollutants such as the pesticide DDT and its derivative DDE along with other hydrophobic chemicals. (2) Limited research has been carried out on the bio availability of these absorbed chemicals on pellets once ingested. Indications are that bio availability is possible and one consequence of this would be disruption of an organism’s endocrine system. (3)

In 2008 Tangaroa Blue Foundation conducted surveys of sites along the west coast to assess the presence of plastic resin pellets. One of the outcomes of these surveys was the identification of a possible source at Fremantle Port and or in the Swan River. (4) A follow up survey of Swan River sites was conducted In June 2010 and the findings are the subject of this report.

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