Maybe The Future Isn’t In Plastics After All?
EXFOLIATING FACE CREAMS MAY BE GREAT for your skin, but hey’re wreaking havoc with the water, according to environ- mental groups working in the Great Lakes area. Microbeads
— tiny plastic particles found in facial scrubs, shampoos, soaps, and
other cosmetic products — are small enough to pass through water
treatment systems and don’t biodegrade, leaving them free to float
around for centuries. In 2012, researchers from the 5 Gyres Institute
tested the waters of Lakes Huron, Superior, and Erie. Using a fine-mesh net, they found tens of thousands of plastic particles, including
a sample from Lake Erie that contained the highest concentration
the group found in any lake or ocean.
The plastics absorb pollutants, and because the small beads
resemble tiny fish eggs, they are often mistaken for food by marine
animals and work their way into the food chain. Several manufacturers, including Johnson & Johnson and The Body Shop, have agreed to
discontinue the use of microbeads by 2015, and some states are taking
action as well. In June, the Illinois legislature voted to make that state
Chicago’s Navy Pier, on the shore of
Lake Michigan, may soon be cut off
from the Mississippi River.
drop in boating
BOATING BY THE NUMBERS
Source: USCG Recreational Boating Statistics 2013
drop in reported boating