Scientist concerned about plastic entering the ocean’s food chain - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Scientist concerned about plastic entering the ocean’s food chain

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Dr. Anthony Andrady Dr. Anthony Andrady
Jackson Dempster Jackson Dempster
Eri Eichelberger Eri Eichelberger

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

WAIKIKI (KHNL) - A trip to Hawaii for one of the world's leading authorities on plastic pollution is anything but a vacation. He is here to bring more awareness about this issue in our islands.

Dr. Anthony Andrady says people can start by throwing away their trash and telling others to do the same.

Andrady is an expert when it comes to plastic pollution in the ocean. He specializes in researching micro-plastic particles. It's those tiny remnants of plastic that zooplankton ingest. But is this harmful?

"So the question is, if they have all these pollutants and if these are being ingested by the marine organisms, can they enter the marine food chain?" he said.

"Can they eventually enter into fish and the human consumer?"

These questions remain for Andrady and many others in his field to answer. But one answer does come to mind.

"I think one of the most important things we can do is to increase the awareness of especially the young children and the population in general as to see how serious this pollution problem is," he said.

Some families are already teaching their kids about the importance of keeping trash and plastics out of our oceans.

Jackson Dempster knows what to do when he sees trash near the ocean.

I guess you could say he's been taught well.

"We talk about not littering and how important it is to keep your own area clean, be responsible," said St. Louis Heights resident Eri Eichelberger.

As part of World Ocean Day events on Oahu, Dr. Andrady will be the featured speaker at the State Capitol Monday night. He'll do a presentation about the impact that plastics have on our oceans.

"We are now impacting the lowest levels of the food chain in the ocean, the plankton, if this has some ill-effect in the plankton populations, then would the oceans in the long-term be threatened by this phenomenon?" he said.

Eichelberger shares the same concern

"This is gonna be their future, so they need to take care of it," she said.