plasticfragments-lakeeriesample20-255x175Researchers from the State University of New York have recently found startlingly high concentrations of micro-plastics in eastern Lake Erie. This study is part of a global endeavor to understand the origin and prevalence of plastic pollution in waters worldwide in cooperation with the Los Angeles-based 5 Gyres Institute. According to the research, some of the samples taken in Lake Erie had plastic concentrations three times higher than anywhere else in the world.

Because of the geology of the Great Lakes and Lake Erie, the plastic collects in eastern Lake Erie, like a bathtub collects dirt at one end. The plastics that were found during the research came from various sources, such as facial scrubs and larger pieces of plastic that have been broken down into microscopic pieces over time. While this is alarming to many, we can change the trend by reducing the amount of plastic we use and the amount that reaches our local waters. Cleanup efforts like PCS’s Clean Your Streams are crucial because they help remove discarded plastic that would otherwise make its way into larger bodies of water, and ultimately, the Great Lakes. To read more about this groundbreaking research, check out a review of one of the articles here.