URI’s efforts to study plastic pollution receive federal boost


PROVIDENCE, RI (AP) — Researchers at the University of Rhode Island are receiving federal aid for their efforts to better understand plastic pollution and the threat it poses to the ocean.

The university is set to receive $1 million in grants dedicated to studying the spread of plastics in the environment as well as ways to reduce their harmful impact.

Plastic products are one of the main types of marine pollution, devastating ocean ecosystems and entangling large animals. Meanwhile, tiny particles released by discarded textiles, packaging or plastics have been found in fish, birds and humans.

Known as microplastics, these tiny particles of pollution have been labeled a growing environmental threat that requires immediate attention.

URI already has a network of nearly 50 faculty members in different departments working on efforts to study and address plastic pollution.

“Unchecked plastic pollution is a threat to our health, our environment and our economy,” said Democratic Rep. Jim Langevin of Rhode Island, who helped get the funding approved.

Langevin and U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island, announced the grant money last week.


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