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Published on April 21st, 2014 | by GrowWNY Intern

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Plastic Pollution in the Great Lakes: Scoping the Problem, Identifying Solutions

BY NATE DRAG, NEW YORK OUTREACH COORDINATOR, ALLIANCE FOR THE GREAT LAKES

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A penny provides scale for the size of micro plastics being found in the Great Lakes ‘Garbage Patch.’ Credit: 5Gyres.

From the Pacific Ocean garbage patch to litter at our local parks, plastic pollution has become a major problem facing the environment. As the weather warms up and you visit your favorite park or walk down your street, you will witness first hand the amount of plastics that end up in the environment. But what about when these plastics in up in the largest surface freshwater system in the world – the Great Lakes? You may be concerned about their impact on wildlife and humans. Join the Alliance for the Great Lakes for a webinar on Tuesday, April 29, at 1 pm Eastern Time to hear the latest information about plastic pollution in the Great Lakes and what can be done to prevent it.

The webinar will feature presentations from two researchers in the Great Lakes that are working on this important issue. Dr. Timothy Hoellein, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at Loyola University Chicago, will present an analysis of trash collected by Adopt-a-Beach™ volunteers at five beaches in four states. He’ll discuss what the data tells us about where litter comes from and how it can inform strategies to keep plastics and other trash out the Great Lakes.Dr. Sherri A. Mason, Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at SUNY Fredonia, will discuss the first-ever survey for plastic pollution within the open waters of the Great Lakes. She’ll present findings on tiny plastic particles in the lakes — including microbeads from personal care products — and explain how these “microplastics” may absorb toxins that threaten fish and other wildlife.

Please visit www.greatlakesevents.webex.com to get call-in information and reserve your spot. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at ndrag@greatlakes.org.


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