Saturday, October 29, 2022

A Study Finding Microplastics In 100% Of Exceptional Value, High Quality, Class A Trout Streams Sampled In PA Is Disturbing To Wildlife Advocates

On October 26, the PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center
released a study finding 100 percent of the 50 water samples from Exceptional Value, High Quality, and Class A Cold Water Trout Fishing streams contained microplastics.

“Our society’s addiction to single-use plastic products is polluting our waterways and threatening our health,” said PennEnvironment Zero Waste Advocate Faran Savitz. “Pennsylvania communities should act quickly to stem the tide of plastic pollution by passing local bans and other restrictions on bags, polystyrene foam, bottles, utensils and more.”

The project took samples from the identified waterways from winter 2021 through spring 2022 and tested them for four types of microplastic pollution:

-- Fibers: primarily from clothing and textiles;

-- Fragments: primarily from harder plastics or plastic feedstock;

-- Film: primarily from bags and flexible plastic packaging;

-- Beads: primarily from facial scrubs and other cosmetic products.

The results found were troubling:

-- 100% of EV, HQ, and Class A Trout streams sampled had microfibers;

-- 84% of sites sampled had microfragments;

-- 84% of sites sampled had microfilm;

-- Only 2% of sites had microbeads.

Activists who have worked hard for decades to improve local waterways, especially the Lackawanna River, expressed dismay at the findings.

“It seems like it never ends,” said Charlies Charlesworth, a member of the state Fish and Boat Commission and past president of the Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited and quoted by the Scranton Times.   Read more here.

“We’re killing ourselves with this stuff,” added Bernie McGurl, founder and executive director of the Lackawanna River Conservation Association, and quoted by the Scranton Times.  Read more here.

The report said, "It’s clear that the scope of plastic pollution in Pennsylvania extends far beyond what was previously thought. These are the cleanest and best protected waterways in the Commonwealth. 

"And while many of the waterways sampled had little to no visual litter at the point of access, our samples found that Pennsylvania’s most pristine waterways continue to be contaminated with plastic pollution."

The report said in order to address the environmental crisis being caused by our overreliance on plastics, our leaders at the federal, state, and local levels should immediately implement the following policies:

1. Municipalities should pass local bans and other restrictions on hard to recycle single use plastics, such as bags, polystyrene, bottles, straws, and utensils.

2. Cities should develop green infrastructure and stormwater programs to help stem the tide of plastics and microplastics being washed into our waterways and surrounding environment.

3. State legislators should defend against any proposals meant to preempt or restrict the ability of the Commonwealth’s municipalities from implementing local plastic ordinances.

4. The Pennsylvania General Assembly and United States Congress should pass bottle deposit requirements and producer responsibility laws to shift the burden of waste onto those who create the pollution in the first place.

5. The General Assembly should modernize Pennsylvania’s cornerstone recycling law, Act 101, in order to bring the Commonwealth’s waste management into the 21st century.

6. State and local legislators should oppose any proposed subsidies or other incentives that will continue to promote society’s reliance on single use plastics and double down on the fossil fuel-to plastics pipeline.

7. State and federal officials should pass policies that prevent overstock clothing from being sent to landfills so that clothing manufacturers and retailers stop producing more clothing than we could ever need.  

Click Here for a copy of the report.


-- Scranton Times/Republican Herald Editorial: Legislators Like Plastics, Expect More  [PaEN]

-- TribLive Editorial: State Fines Should Be Higher Than Tax Cuts To Penalize Environmental Leaks [PaEN]

-- Republican Herald Editorial: State Lawmakers Should Adopt Rules That Preclude State Taxpayers From Subsidizing Pollution From Oil & Gas Industry  [PaEN]

-- Citizens Voice Editorial: State Insists On Paying Polluters  [PaEN]

-- PennLive Guest Essay: Tax Credit Bill Gifts Natural Gas, Dirty Hydrogen With $4 Billion In Taxpayer Subsidies - By Patrick McDonnell, PennFuture

Related Articles - No Protection For EV, HQ Streams:

-- NO SPECIAL PROTECTION: The Exceptional Value Loyalsock Creek In Lycoming County Is Dammed And Damned - Video Dispatch From The Loyalsock - By Barb Jarmoska, Keep It Wild PA [PaEN]

-- Exceptional Value Water Quality Designation, State Forest Land, River Honors Were Not Enough To Protect Loyalsock Creek From Natural Gas Drilling & Pipelines In Lycoming County - By Friends Of The 'Sock [PaEN]

-- Susquehanna River Basin Commission Has No Exclusion Zones For Water Withdrawals From Any Streams, Including EV Or HQ Streams Subject To Water Quality Antidegradation Rules [PaEN]

Related Articles This Week:

-- DEP: PA General Energy Cited For More Water Pollution Violations, Blocking The Whole Width Of Loyalsock Creek At Gas Pipeline/Water Withdrawal Construction Site In Lycoming County [PaEN]

-- DEP Permit Notices -- Oil & Gas Industrial Facilities  [PaEN] 

-- Senate, House Pass Massive, 20-Year Taxpayer Subsidies For Natural Gas, Hydrogen And Petrochemical Industries In Hours With No Public Accountability Or Environmental Safeguards [PaEN]

-- Citizens Voice Editorial: State Insists On Paying Polluters  [PaEN]

-- Scranton Times/Republican Herald Editorial: Legislators Like Plastics, Expect More  [PaEN]

-- Bill Goes To Governor Creating Well Plugging Grant Program; Senate, House Again Fail To Address Woefully Inadequate Conventional Well Plugging Bonding  [PaEN]

-- Senate Committee OK’d Bills Rebranding Fossil Fuels As ‘Low Emission,’ Eliminating Incentives For EVs; Fails To End Ban On Raising Conventional Oil & Gas Well Bonding; Reports Out EHB Nominee Sarah Clark  [PaEN]

-- Pine Creek Headwaters Protection Group: Potential Impacts Of Shale Gas Development Forest Fragmentation On Tioga State Forest Birds - By Dr. Robert M. Ross  [PaEN]

-- DCNR Leased 176 Acres Of Susquehanna River Submerged Land To SWN Natural Gas Production Company In Susquehanna County For $704,000  [PaEN]

-- Public Herald: Public Records Show PA Has 10,543 Injection Wells Where Conventional Oil & Gas Drilling Wastewater Is Often Used For Enhanced Recovery Of Oil & Gas

-- Penn State Research: PFAS 'Forever Chemicals' Persist Through Wastewater Treatment, May Enter Crops - By Penn State News  [PaEN]

-- National Fuel Gas Requests PUC To Approve 9.2% Increase In Base Delivery Charge; Separate Cost Of Gas Up 127.8% Since May 2021 [PaEN]

-- PUC Approves 9% Increase In The Basic Monthly Bill For Typical PECO Natural Gas Division Customers; On Top Of An 103.2% Increase In Cost Of Natural Gas [PaEN]

-- Ohio River Valley Institute Blog: Natural Gas Costs Are Principal Driver Of Current Inflation; Increasing Gas Production For Export Also Increases Prices And Volatility

[Posted: October 29, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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