Plastics Pellets in the Aquatic Environment: Sources and Recommendations - Final Report
The U.S. environmental protection agency (EPA) is concerned about the amounts and types of debris in our oceans and on our beaches. This debris can have economic, esthetic, and ecological impacts and can come from both land and sea based sources. One debris item that has become of particular concern to EPA is the plastic pellet. EPA's oceans and coastal protection division (OCPD) of the office of wetlands, oceans and wetlands (OWOW) initiated the study described in this report to make a comprehensive assessment of the sources, fate, and effects of pellets in the aquatic environment, and prevent their release to the environment. The goals of the study were to 1. Summarize what is known about the presence and impacts of pellets in the aquatic environment, 2. Identify and evaluate how pellets escape into the environment, and 3. Recommended ways to control or prevent future pellet releases. This study promotes EPA's national policy on pollution prevention, which is based on the pollution prevention act of 1990 (HR 5931). EPA's policy is to (1) reduce or prevent pollution at the source whenever possible, and (2) to assist the state and local governments and the private sector in achieving source reduction. The study results, therefore, will help to implement EPA's policy by assisting the plastics industry in implementing voluntary pellet control programs to reduce the release of pellets into the aquatic environment. This report represents the first comprehensive assembly of information regarding the presence and ecological effects of pellets in the aquatic environment, and it's expected to become a basic reference for EPA and industry.