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CoastLine: Ocean Plastic is Beyond Garbage Patches and Part of Human Food Chain

When you use a disposable diaper, some scientists would tell you the plastic in that diaper actually stays in the environment for hundreds of years.  The plastic bag you brought home from the grocery store?  Estimates vary, but some put the number of years it takes to decompose as high as one thousand.  Whether those numbers are accurate or more research needs to be done doesn’t change what we know about how plastics are showing up in oceans all over the world – and not only harming marine life – but becoming part of the human food chain. 

On this edition of CoastLine, we learn more about how and where plastics are showing up and what some local people are doing to change not only the way we think about plastics – but how – and how much – we use them. 

This edition of CoastLine originally aired June 16, 2016.


Bonnie Monteleone works at the University of North Carolina at Wilmingtonwhere she is a plastic marine debris research and lab assistant.   She is also the Director of Science, Research and Academic Partnerships for Plastic Ocean Project, Inc.

Jennifer Metzler-Fiorino is Education Curator at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher.

Expo 216 is a non-profit, specialty museum encompassing over 5,000 square feet on the first two levels of a newly renovated building in historic downtown Wilmington, N.C. at 216 N. Front Street. 

Mission:  to encourage conscious living through heightened awareness of social and environmental issues.

From the website:  http://www.expo216.com/

Expo 216 is a hybrid in the art world:  a museum-gallery.  The museum component consists of informative panels, media loops, and commissioned art that establish the theme. Each theme focuses on a social or environmental issue and runs approximately ten months. Gallery pieces, created by local and national artists, expound upon the theme and are for sale throughout the run of the exhibit.  A silent auction will be conducted at the conclusion of the exhibit.  Exhibitions are supported by a host of programming including interactive displays, original art, guest speakers, music events, and opportunities to engage in social action.

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 4 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.