SOLYMONE BLOG

MICROPLASTICS AT ALARMING LEVELS IN CANADIAN LAKES AND RIVERS


Tiny plastic pellets called microbeads have gotten a lot of attention as a major water pollutant, but less-discussed microplastics are equally concerning, according to new research being done in Canada.
"In recent years, they've been detected in a growing number of lakes and rivers worldwide. They're everywhere, and often in alarming levels," said Anthony Ricciardi, a professor at the McGill School of the Environment, who is working on a study about microplastics.
Microplastics are small particles of plastic less than five millimetres in size that are often found in bodies of water near large urban populations. Microbeads, which are used in toothpastes, makeup and body cleansers, are one part of the broader category of microplastics.
Microbeads are "getting all the attention, but they're only one component to this," Ricciardi said. "As time goes on, people are going to realize the importance of the other pieces, too."
A 2014 study of the U.S. Great Lakes by the 5 Gyres Institute found an average of 43,000 microplastic particles per square kilometre. Near cities, the number jumped to 466,000. 
The plastic particles in the Great Lakes include microbeads, but also come from other sources, such  as  bits  of  polymer that  detach from clothing when it is washed, 
as well as granules from industrial abrasives.

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