Fighting Pollution

On an average day, 140,000 pounds of toxic chemicals enter coastal ecosystems in Washington state. The number one source of this pollution is storm water runoff, and according to 2014 research, citizens of Washington state are now the largest contributor to that marine pollution. ​So the question then becomes, how do we combat this issue? Well, before we answer that question, lets get to know some facts about Washington marine pollution....

  • Studies are turning up evidence of exotic chemicals in almost every environment, including remote coastal islands.

  • Runoff from roads, parking lots, and roofs is one of the largest sources of contaminants flowing into Puget Sound.

  • Every year, more than 9,600 pounds of plastic additives are discharged from sewage treatment plants in the Puget Sound region.

  • In 2008, 549 streams and rivers carried poor water quality from storm water and toxins that were tributaries to the Sound.

  • Exposure to toxins and pollutants threatens the state's $147 million a year commercial and recreational fish industry as well as the state's $9.5 billion tourism industry - both built around the Sound.

  • By 2010, more than 521,000 pounds of toxic waste, including cancer-causing chemicals, developmental toxins and reproductive toxins, were dumped in Washington waterways.

  • Orca whales in the Puget Sound are considered to be the most PCB-contaminated mammals on earth.

  • Puget Sound harbor seals are seven times more contaminated by toxic chemicals than the harbor seals in Canada's Strait of Georgia, which adjoins the Sound.

  • Since 1980, mover than 30 percent of the Puget Sound's shellfish growing area has closed due to polluted water.

  • One of the most common items of pollution found are cigarette butts.

  • Because much of Salish Sea’s chemical contaminants stem from human activities, scientists feel strongly that by making more informed choices people can curb the problem.

Okay, so now what?

The difficult thing about marine pollution is it is often very hard to detect, either because it is microplastic, or because it is a chemical liquid that has dissolved into the water. The best way to help fix the pollution problem, is to stop the pollution at the source. 

Cleaning up beaches and other habitats is no doubt, a very important part to the solution. But what good does that do if the pollution keeps entering the ecosystems?That is why the Coastal Resolution Project will not only be cleaning up beaches, we will also work with other groups to help install more rain gardens, storm drain filters, and other pollution filtering systems. We will also be looking into ways to improve wastewater treatment, so that wastewater can enter the Puget Sound less polluted. Please help support us fight pollution by considering to volunteer with us, or donating to the movement! 

What you can do to help fight Washington marine pollution

The public can make many changes to how they live, and when making these changes they can create big impacts. Below are some of the most important actions the Coastal Resolution Project encourages the public to work on......

  1. Supporting and volunteering with groups such as the Coastal Resolution Project during beach cleanups, restoration projects, and public educational outreach programs. A great website to visit to find out more about marine pollution and what is being done about it, is NOAA's Marine Debris Program. A great way to have a great impact is to just get involved!

  2. Finding ways to reduce pollution in your own home, and when you travel. Some good tips have been provided via the Orca Network. Think about what you buy, and what you use, and how you can change to help coastal ecosystems. Also consider driving less, and biking more, and fix any oil leaks in your vehicles. 

  3. Buying local, and organic produce. The agricultural industry is the nations biggest source of pollution. Agricultural pollution impairs the biological function and human uses of many streams, rivers, lakes and bays. Bacteria and other pathogens contaminate the water, sediment washed off bare fields destroys fish habitat, and nutrient pollution from fertilizers causes harmful algal blooms, which can create toxic or low oxygen conditions. Buying organic is very important, because we can't support farms who pollute and destroy the Salish Sea. 

  4. Not flushing prescription drugs down the toilet! Prescription drugs can easily enter marine ecosystems when they are flushed down, and this can lead to unknown and potentially deadly consequences. 

  5. Spreading the word. Tell your friends, family, and neighbors. This is perhaps one of the regions most important issues. As the Puget Sound region grows, we need to make sure more people are educated. Get the word out on Washington marine pollution!