Lake Erie’s Great Garbage Patch is even denser than the one in the Atlantic
Oceans aren’t the only bodies of water where tiny bits of plastic are collecting into huge, polluting concentrations. Atlantic Cities reports that scientists have started looking at the same problem in the Great Lakes — and they’re finding that, in some cases, the problem is even worse there than out in the oceans:
[Lorena Rios-Mendoza, an oceanographer at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, and] her team recently sampled sections of Lake Erie … and discovered that the water’s been invaded by great quantities of microplastics mostly smaller than grains of rice. Specifically, they measured concentrations between 1,500 and 1.7 million particles per square mile, which is 24 percent greater than what they found in the Atlantic Ocean’s debris field.
The garbage patch we hear the most about is the one in the Pacific, but wherever these are found, they’re causing problems. (There’s evidence that Lake Erie fish are eating the plastic, too, Atlantic Cities reports.) Unlike the oceanic patches, though, the Great Lakes pollution is a little bit easier for people to see and maybe decide to clean up, since they don’t want to emerge from a refreshing swim covered in microparticles of trash.
The Pacific Trash Vortex Has a Counterpart in the Great Lakes, Atlantic Cities.