Public Comment Open on a Draft Federal Report on Microfiber Pollution

Posted Thu, 09/15/2022 - 11:00

Cover of the Draft Report on Microfiber Pollution.The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Marine Debris Program and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Trash Free Waters Program, on behalf of the Interagency Marine Debris Coordinating Committee, are pleased to share a draft Report on Microfiber Pollution, which is now available for public comment. 

The Save Our Seas 2.0 Act of 2020 (Public Law 116-224) requires the Interagency Marine Debris Coordinating Committee to complete a report on microfiber pollution that includes: 

  1. a definition of microfiber; 
  2. an assessment of the sources, prevalence, and causes of microfiber pollution; 
  3. a recommendation for a standardized methodology to measure and estimate the prevalence of microfiber pollution; 
  4. recommendations for reducing microfiber pollution; and 
  5. a plan for how Federal agencies, in partnership with other stakeholders, can lead on opportunities to reduce microfiber pollution during the 5-year period beginning on the date of the Act’s enactment. 

This report will provide Congress with an overview of the microfiber pollution issue, while also outlining a path forward for federal agencies, in partnership with other stakeholders, to address this problem. 

NOAA’s Marine Debris Program and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Trash Free Waters Program co-led the development of this report on behalf of the Interagency Marine Debris Coordinating Committee, with support from the consulting firm Materevolve.

We invite comments, feedback, and recommendations on the draft Report on Microfiber Pollution, including Section 7, which contains a plan that outlines opportunities to reduce microfiber pollution.

You can access the draft Report on Microfiber Pollution on our website and comments will be accepted until October 17, 2022. To learn how to submit a comment through the Federal eRulemaking Portal, please view the Federal Register Notice

Public Comment Open on a Draft Federal Report on Microfiber Pollution

Posted Thu, 09/15/2022 - 11:00

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For citation purposes, unless otherwise noted, this article was authored by the NOAA Marine Debris Program.

Kathryn Hyde

Fri, 09/16/2022 - 10:59

Please do not allow trash or waste of any kind in our oceans. Have education and stick systems at bears to stop debris from entering waterways Protect as all marine areas and ocean life. Thank you.

Nancy L Dowey

Mon, 09/19/2022 - 15:25

Please protect our waterways and wildlife. Microfibers can not be seen but they are and are so destructive. PLease develop a plan quickly to take care of this serious problem.

Anonymous

Tue, 09/20/2022 - 09:09

Water is life and protecting oceans from microfiber pollution is essential. I support any and all steps we can take to reduce water contamination. The answer is education and activism. Increase public awareness of the devastating effect of single use plastic, nurdles and other products in our waterways and urge people to invest in renewables and decrease our dependence on fossil fuels. As the saying goes, 'there is no planet B'

Diwakar Maurya

Tue, 09/27/2022 - 02:11

Microfibers that came from different sources. These sources add on in sewage, river, and finally mixed in oceans that causes harmful effects on marine flora and fauna. Airborne microfiber is also a source of this type of pollution that also causes harmful effects on a different areas. Please make a policy for the control of microfiber in every country and implement this policy effectively.

Anonymous

Sat, 10/01/2022 - 19:00

Goal #4 “focuses on developing a better understanding of the physical, chemical, and biological hazards associated with microfibers (including the chemical additives they may contain, as well as the contaminants they may have absorbed from the environment” the actions listed though do not speak to the work that will be done to assess the absorption of toxins by these fibers. Microfiber pollution is a huge problem for the Great Lakes. Thank you for sharing this report and asking for our comments.

Stan Durkee an…

Mon, 10/17/2022 - 20:34

Based on our review of the Draft Federal Report on Microfiber Pollution, we offer the following comments: 1. We recommend that the report better illuminate the state of the science concerning what is known concerning human exposure to microfibers/microplastics. For example, it should indicate whether there is exposure duration information of people to drinking water containing microfibers. This draft just says exposures are noted, without temporal information. If exposures have been extensive, the report should address whether there a potential for epidemiological studies. 2. We recommend that the report discuss the history of the microfiber/microplastics issue and how it has evolved over the years, and, thereby, explain why, after decades of documented exposure to microfibers/microplastics, no extensive assessment has been made of the possible impacts to the environment and human health. Has the scientific community considered this a “minor” issue and focused on more “tangible“ risks such as those from PFOA/PFOS, legacy priority pollutants? 3. We recommend that the report discuss, and, if possible, provide estimates of what percentage of impacts to aquatic life as a whole are due to microplastics, microfibers and macro plastics. Is it possible to tease out the relative contributions of each to impacts on aquatic life? Does one dominate the overall toxic impact? 4. We recommend that consideration be given to dropping the reference to the WHO report, since its message seems disingenuous and confusing. It says on one hand that more research is needed on human health exposure and risk, but on the other hand states there is a low risk from drinking water based on current data. It seems to provide a false sense of security based on a very meager sample size. 5. While we applaud the draft's call for a Federal plan to address microfiber pollution that puts research as a first goal: "Goal 1: Conduct, fund, and support research to address the most critical research needs related to microfiber pollution." (p. ), we recommend the report be strengthened by providing: (1) greater emphasis, with accompanying rationale and discussion, on the need for Federal research leadership and coordination to ensure development of research strategies that facilitate effective integration of research planning efforts and of communications with scientists reflecting different scientific disciplines as well as policy makers. While the draft acknowledges that approximately 60 percent of microfibers are a subset of microplastics (p. ), it should emphasize that the research needs for many, if not most, plastic microfibers are identical to those for microplastics generally. The report should include a discussion of why and how these efforts should be integrated. (2) criteria that are to be met for effective microfiber/microplastic research coordination mechanisms that can be used or developed, and appropriate recommendations concerning. (3) discussion, if only in summary form, of nanofibers and nanoplastics, even if the mandate for the Report is limited to microfibers.

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