My husband and I attended “Family Night” at the Slater Museum at the University of Puget Sound a month ago. It is a great opportunity to see raptors, observe feathers, bones, skins and various animal species. At one table a biologist was dissecting several common murre which had washed up on the beach last fall, emaciated and unhealthy. He showed us small pieces of plastic that had been digested and filled their stomachs, inhibiting absorption of nutrients and blocking their ability to survive due to starvation.
I go to Tolmie State Park most mornings as it is close to my home. Each day along the high tide line I pick up hundreds of pieces of plastic debris from the geoduck farms. They are all along the shore and I gather them up each morning only to see hundreds more the next day. The farmers use plastic cups to protect the seed from predators when they are planted into the sand. The plastic cups must get blown off the geoduck tubes from the force of wind and waves. The plastic is sometimes in the form of large cups with holes but most often it comes as dime to quarter size fragments.
This constant source of plastic debris is tragic for the many species that consume them thinking they are food.
It is time for the geoduck industry to be responsible and discontinue using plastic cups and to clean up their errant equipment and supplies from our beaches.