Marine Microplastic and Nanoplastic Litter in Nova Scotia: Confronting the Rising Tides of Plastics in our Marine Waters, Coastlines and Organisms. [graduate project].
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According to Moore (2008), "plastics are now one of the most common and persistent pollutants in ocean waters and beaches worldwide" (p. 131). Significant increases in plastic production is a considerable driver in the amount of plastic observed in the marine environment (UNEP, 2014). It is estimated that the amount of marine litter along the coast of Nova Scotia is increasing (Grieve, 2012) with local studies finding that sea birds and mussels contain elevated levels of plastic as compared to studies completed elsewhere (Bond et al., 2014; Mathalon and Hill, 2014). Scientists confirm that marine plastics are entering the food chain with as much as 178 microplastic fibers found in a single wild Nova Scotia mussel (e.g. Bouwmeester, et al.,2015). Much of the international and federal regulations pertaining to marine litter focuses on sea-based sources of litter; however, the scientific community states that land-based activities make up approximately 80 per cent of marine litter (Andrady, 2011; Berman, 1995; Sheavly,2005; Zhou et al., 2011; UNEP, 2005). The report ends with recommendations on how Nova Scotia can address marine litter concerns from both a local and global perspective.