Microplastics in the Great Lakes
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Microplastics in the Great Lakes is an emerging water quality issue that has a huge potential of impacting human health and the aquatic environment.
It has been estimated that microplastics are consumed by the US population at a rate of 5 grams per week (the weight of a credit card). Microplastics are found in our food, water, air, and even beer along the Great Lakes. Fish are ingesting microplastic that cause them to starve and allow microplastics to move up the food chain. Humans are ingesting plastics made from endocrine disruptor chemicals. Over 22 million pounds of plastic enter the Great Lakes every year and Lake Michigan is the number one source.
The local, state, and federal agencies and the International Joint Commission are not currently engaged in the microplastic water quality impacts. Microplastics is an emerging water quality problem in the Great Lakes and affects our quality of life.
Presenter Art Hirsch will discuss types of microplastic sources, impacts, legislation, and local and regional mitigation actions. Hirsch is a former environmental consultant with over 30 years of experience. He lives in Boulder, Colorado, and spends his summers in Pentwater, Michigan. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University and a Master of Science degree from the University of Colorado. His expertise is in the areas of water quality, storm water management, sustainability, climate change, and environmental impact assessments. He is an activist with the Climate Reality Project and became a West Michigan Chapter Leader in 2021. He is currently working on the Enbridge Line 5 Shutdown, GHG reductions associated with transportation, oil and gas operations in Colorado, and microplastics pollution in the Great Lakes.
Host Jane Dow, co-chair of Mankato Zero Waste and member of Beyond Plastics Mankato Area and Sierra Club Coalition to Reduce Plastic, has taken courses from Bennington College on plastic pollution and is working to implement legislation to reduce single use plastic on a local and state level.