The International Joint Commission is calling on the U.S. and Canada to take action against micro-plastics in the Great Lakes.
The commission recommends the two nations adopt a plan for research, education and outreach. It also recommends a standardized scientific approach to sampling and the sources of the pollution. Commission spokesperson Frank Bevacqua says federal and state governments will need to collaborate in order to reduce micro-plastics pollution.
Bevacqua says microplastics come from products like shampoos, shopping bags, cosmetics, and cigarette butts. A study released in January by the Rochester Institute of Technology shows plastics account for approximately 80 percent of the litter on the shorelines of the Great Lakes.The study estimates 22 million pounds of plastic ends up in the water every year. It also shows debris in the Great Lakes travels in a different pattern than in the oceans. They are carried by wind and lake currents to shore, and often end up in another state or Canada. Mathematical models used to determine the sources and end points of the pollution shows cities like Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland and Toronto pollute the most.