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Report: NYC's Waterways Teeming With Plastic Particles

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP)-- A new report says the waterways surrounding New York City are a soup of plastic, ranging from discarded takeout containers down to tiny beads that end up in the food supply.

The study was conducted by the group NY/NJ Baykeeper.

"About 165 million plastic particles are floating in our waters at any given time," Sandra Meola, communications and outreach associate for the group, told WCBS 880.

Meola said that plastic ends up in our waters in a variety of ways including improper waste management, littering, and storm water run-offs.

"The root of the problem is that there is so much single-use throw away plastic out there. All of the stuff we found was single-use plastic," Meola said.

Single-use plastic items include items such as take-away containers and soda or water bottles. Meola said the issue is dangerous as the plastic is broken down into tiny pieces and often consumed my fish, a major source of food.

How can you help? Meola said using reusable grocery bags and reusable water bottles are two simple ways of cutting down on plastic use.

The report was based on samples collected by trawlers that plied waterways such as the East River and New Jersey's Passaic River and Raritan Bay between March and August 2015.

The report was modeled on a pioneering study of the Great Lakes conducted by Sherri Mason, a chemistry professor at the State University of New York in Fredonia. That study found plastics pollution in all five lakes.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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