Ocean plastics are, of course, an important conservation issue.
Ocean plastics are, of course, an important conservation issue. But as bad as large pieces of floating plastic are , it's the tiny microplastic particles that pose a major threat as they both give off and absorb different chemicals or pollutants and end up in fish, some of which are consumed by...
Marine Debris: Microplastics – from facial scrub to the Great Lakes
Posted on October 25, 2013 by Steve Stewart, Michigan State University Extension In the Great Lakes, marine debris affects the beauty of our environment, is a health and safety hazard, threatens our wildlife and natural...
Microplastics are in the Great Lakes – where do they come from and are they a problem?
In the Great Lakes, marine debris affects the beauty of our environment, is a health and safety hazard, threatens our wildlife and natural resources, and comes at a significant economic cost. From a beach covered in trash to an animal entangled in fishing line, marine debris is a problem we can’t ignore. This article focuses on microplastics, a little—and little known—type of marine debris.
Microplastics are tiny bits of plastic that often originate from beach litter, or even consumer face scrubs, that are beginning to concern scientists. In the summer of 2012, Great Lakes research scientists sampling Lakes Erie, Huron and Superior were surprised to find tiny plastic particles suspended in the water. Although they knew about microplastics, what surprised them was the small size of the plastic Microplastics image from NOAA.particles – less than one millimeter in diameter. In the Great Lakes samples, approximately 85% of the plastic debris found was microplastics.
Often, large pieces of plastic are gradually broken down into smaller and smaller fragments by weathering and abrasion until they become microplastics. Other sources of microplastics include industrial pre-production plastic pellets and polyethylene bead exfoliants from personal care products. While the percentage of microplastics found in the Great Lakes samples was greater than that typical of ocean samples, scientists are concerned that results from ocean studies on microplastics apply to the Great Lakes....
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