Plastic pollution closer to home: microbeads in the Great Lakes

The CPS-ECP Boating Resource

We tend to think in terms of oceanic pollution, the huge Great Pacific Ocean garbage patch or one of the other gyres, North and South Atlantic, North and South Pacific, and the Indian Ocean. (See Summer 2014 Port Hole.)

However, real trouble is available closer to home. An American scientist from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire has discovered that Arctic sea ice is contaminated with microplastics, tiny bits of plastic from the south. According to scientists, microplastics absorb and concentrate other environmental pollutants, which will enter our food chain as animals swallow them.

But even closer to home, a research team studying the Great Lakes discovered that Lake Ontario has more than a million beads per square kilometre. But that’s not the end of it. Water from Lakes Superior, Michigan, and Huron moves through Lake Erie then drains, via Niagara Falls, into Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, and…

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