Federal government funds research on microplastics and other ocean contaminants

Click to play video: 'Ottawa funds study on ocean contaminants' Ottawa funds study on ocean contaminants
It's no secret that we're polluting our oceans. As Linda Aylesworth reports, Canadian scientists have been given new funding to find answers that could affect government policy for years to come – Feb 20, 2018

The federal government has launched a major new push to study ocean contaminants and their impact on the marine environment.

Thirteen universities and not-for-profit research organizations will share nearly $2.7 million in funding to look closely at the impact of contaminants on fish, marine mammals and other aquatic species.

READ MORE: Plastic microbeads will be banned in Canada, effective mid-2018

Much of the work will be done out of the new Pacific Science Enterprise Centre in West Vancouver.

In addition, a $1.3-million partnership between Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Pollution Research Program will research the issue of microplastics, the barely visible plastic particles that can either be pre-manufactured or may result from the breakdown of larger plastic chunks.

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“Ninety per cent of the plastics that you find suspended in ocean water are actually pieces from polyester garments or nylon garments,” Ocean Wise Conservation Association technician Stephen Chastain said.

READ MORE: MEC and Vancouver Aquarium researchers team up to study apparel-linked microplastic pollution

The research will focus on the impact of microplastics on the southern resident killer whale population.

“It really behooves us to think a little bit more about the unwitting recipients of all of our pollution,” Ocean Wise Conservation Association vice-president Peter Ross added.

— With files from Linda Aylesworth

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