Back in August 2013, we hosted a Plastic Beach Project Day at Rodeo Beach (Fort Cronkhite) in Marin County, 15 minutes over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. Rodeo Beach is covered in green and dark red pebbles that give the beach an orange glow. Mix this with a sunset and you’ve got something crazy beautiful. This is not a secret, the beach is always covered in beach users, mainly tourists, and hardcore northern california surfers.
Our Beach Event stands out, not because of the intense fog, but because of an exceptionally enthusiastic and pleasant crew of volunteers that showed up, who were all educators at NatureBridge, a non-profit that focuses on environmental education to students. NatureBridge is lucky enough to have their offices in old World War II housing at Fort Cronkhite that are located close enough to Rodeo Beach that you can hear the colorful pebbles in the waves.
The Plastic Beach Day was a success, and we carried out beach research for our ongoing citizen science program, The Plastic Beach Project. Our research analyzed the level of plastic pollution on Rodeo Beach, estimating close to 0.25 plastic pieces per square meter, which adds up. This number varies between research days and can be much higher after storm events. The most common pieces of trash found during the research is by far polystyrene (foam!) pieces, that is commonly on beaches throughout the Bay Area. If anyone has any leads to where these plastic pieces are coming from, please let us know.
This was the day our partnership with NatureBridge began (and we can thank our partner Klean Kanteen for sending the invitation to the NatureBridge Crew). Following up to the August event, 5 Gyres worked with the Teen Environmental Education Mentorship (TEEM) program in early December 2013 and then the NatureBridge educators in early January 2014 to educate and train the students and educators on plastic pollution + 5 Gyres, and our research protocols to gather information on plastic pollution levels at Rodeo Beach. In 2014, both NatureBridge programs will collect plastic pollution research, possible weekly but at least monthly, on micro- plastic pollution that will help paint a very good picture of the plastic footprint at Rodeo Beach (also, i am hoping they figure out why we see so much polystyrene!).
Looking forward to our partnership with NatureBridge!marine debris, marine litter, plastic pollution