Seattle, Washington (KINY) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will award Environmental Justice Small Grants to the Sitka Tribe in Alaska.
EPA’s Environmental Justice Small Grants program provides funding for non-profit and tribal organizations to partner with stakeholders in industry, government, and academia. The Sitka Tribe will receive funds for the project, "Microplastics in Tribal Subsistence Foods in Southeast Alaska." Partners include the University of Alaska, Mount Edgecumbe High school, the Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition and the Sitka Conservation Society.
The Sitka tribe and local students will collect water and subsistence food samples within the tribe's traditional territory to test for the presence of microplastics. The tribe will share the results to help the public make informed decisions about harvesting traditional foods. The body of research about microplastics in the ocean and their effect on marine and terrestrial animals has increased substantially in the past 10 years. The results will be compared to commercially purchased foods and safety standards. Local students will also assist in sampling of local food and water; 72 subsistence food staples, 18 commercial food staples, and 12 water samples will be collected and then tested by the University of Alaska.
EPA’s Environmental Justice Small Grants Program is designed to help communities understand and address exposure to multiple environmental harms and risks, and funds projects up to $30,000 a year.