Announcement: Microplastics Risk Report and Trash Methods Playbook Available

The Ocean Protection Council (OPC) is pleased to share the results of two OPC-funded projects. The first is a report providing guidance for addressing microplastic pollution in California’s waters and assessing the risk of microplastics, and the second is a set of reports on validating trash monitoring methodologies and a playbook enabling local governments to use and understand available trash monitoring methods. Please see below for more information about each project.

Microplastic Pollution Precautionary Risk Assessment Framework and Scientific Guidance

Today the California Ocean Science Trust (OST), the Ocean Protection Council (OPC) and a group of leading interdisciplinary scientists released a new report which provides guidance for addressing microplastic pollution in California’s marine environments and assessing the risk these tiny plastics pose to marine ecosystems, marine animals and humans. The report – Microplastic Pollution in California: A Precautionary Framework and Scientific Guidance to Assess and Address Risk to the Marine Environment – recommends California officials work proactively to manage microplastic waste and reduce microplastic materials at their source considering several factors.

The Microplastic Pollution in California report shares scientific guidance for risk assessment and management of microplastics including the following recommendations:

  • California officials should assess and manage microplastic pollution risk in a precautionary manner that is protective of the marine environment and to focus on concentration of microplastics in the aquatic environment while the scientific community learns more about toxicity impacts of plastics and associated pollutants.
  • Reducing the sources of microplastics may be the most effective and precautionary measure.
  • Identifying the top sources of micro- and macro-plastic emissions into the marine environment in California is crucial for assessing risk and stopping the flow of microplastics now and into the future.
  • As science on microplastics evolves, the state should revisit the framework in five years.

Trash Monitoring Methods Validation and Playbook

The widely-anticipated Trash Monitoring Methods Field Validation Report and Trash Monitoring Methods Playbook are now available. This OPC-funded project with the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project and the San Francisco Estuary Institute included the field validation of four trash monitoring methodologies for trash in coastal creeks and streams, to develop an understanding of the accuracy and precision of each method, and to provide resources for local governments to implement trash monitoring in state waters. Both reports are available for download on

Categories: Marine Pollution, Plastic Pollution, Strategic Goal 3: Biodiversity, Water Quality