Microplastics in 80 per cent of lake samples
Microplastic Awareness Project 2021 finds microplastic presence in more than 80 per cent of 24 samples taken on Lake Huron
By Alyssa Bourassa, Coastal Stewardship Technician, Lake Huron Coastal Centre
Coast Watcher citizen scientists collected 24 samples at the beginning and end of the season and found microplastic pollution in 83.3 per cent of those samples.
A graph showing microplastic presence in the Great Lakes.
Tests of lake water samples in 2018 found that 95.7 per cent of the samples contained microplastic.
Microfibres were the most common microplastic found in both 2018 and 2021.
Microfibres are commonly released from clothing in washing machines. If the washing machine does not have a microfibre filter they are released into the municipal wastewater system. Since microfibres are 100 times finer than a human hair, most wastewater treatment plants do not filter the fibres before they are released into Lake Huron.
Microplastic poses a risk to humans through contamination of drinking water.
More research needs to be done to better understand how ingestion of microplastics can impact human health.
We can also take personal actions that reduce microfibre pollution of the Great Lakes.
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