Microplastics found in every sampled Oregon waterway

The odds of any Oregon waterway being free of microplastic contamination are slim. 

The odds of any Oregon waterway being free of microplastic contamination are slim, a new study finds.

On Dec. 6, Environment Oregon Research & Policy Center released “Microplastics in Oregon: a Survey of Waterways,” and the report’s findings were grim: Microplastics, or pieces of plastic smaller than a grain of rice, were found in all 30 sampled Oregon waterways. With Americans producing 35 million tons of plastic waste every year, microplastics increasingly end up in our environment, waterways, marine animals — and even in human organs. 

"The results of this study should set off alarms for all Oregonians who love our state's rivers and lakes," said Celeste Meiffren-Swango, Environment Oregon Research & Policy Center state director. "The staggering amount of microplastics we found likely means that no waterway is safe from plastic pollution."

The report also outlines policy solutions to tackle the problem, including phasing out single-use plastics and allowing Oregonians to bring their own reusable bags and containers to grocery stores and restaurants. 

Read more about the study.

Learn more about our Wildlife Over Waste campaign.


Moving beyond plastic foam is something we can do right now, right here. If we win, we’ll see a difference in cleaner beaches and parks, and we’ll know it’s making a difference to the wildlife in our rivers, lakes and oceans.

Let’s choose wildlife over waste. Tell our governor and lawmakers to ban plastic foam take-out cups and containers.

Photo: Environment Oregon staff and supporters took part in collecting samples from Diamond Lake (above), Crater Lake, Salmon River and more. Credit: Staff