An edition of: WaterAtlas.orgPresented By: USF Water Institute

Water-Related News

Experts: reducing plastic use is the only way to cut down on microplastics in Tampa Bay area waters

TAMPA – It's no secret that things can get into our water that shouldn't be there.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), plastic waste makes up 80 percent of all marine pollution. They also estimate that by 2050, the amount of plastic waste in our waters will likely outweigh the fish in the sea.

And water quality experts say all of that plastic doesn't just sit there— some of it breaks down into what's called "microplastics," which aren't easy to see with the naked eye.

So to learn if those pollutants were in Tampa Bay area waterways, we gathered samples from Hillsborough Bay, the Hillsborough River, and Old Tampa Bay. We drove them down to a lab at the Water School at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) to find out.