3 Reasons We Need to Protect the Great Lakes From Plastic Pollution
Plastic Pollution Harms Marine Life
Marine creatures are particularly at risk of plastic pollution as they can easily mistake plastic debris for food. For example, seabirds often ingest plastics, mistaking it for fish eggs or other prey. This can cause internal injuries, starvation, and death. Similarly, fish that feed on microplastics can suffer from malnutrition, disease, and reduced reproductive success.
Furthermore, plastic pollution can have long-term effects on marine ecosystems. For instance, plastic debris can damage coral reefs by blocking sunlight and creating dead zones. It can also affect the chemistry of the water, altering its pH levels and making it more acidic. These effects can have ripple effects on the entire food chain.
Plastic Pollution Harms Human Health
Plastic pollution throughout the Great Lakes can also impact human health. For example, microplastics and their chemicals can enter the food chain when fish and other marine creatures from the lakes are consumed. These chemicals can accumulate in your body and cause various health problems, including cancer, reproductive issues, and developmental problems.
In addition, plastic debris in drinking water tied to the lakes can harm the surrounding communities. Studies have shown that plastic particles can leach chemicals into the water, which can cause hormonal imbalances and other health issues.
Plastic Pollution Threatens Tourism Economies
The Great Lakes support a variety of industries, including tourism and recreational activities. However, plastic pollution can have serious economic consequences. For example, beaches littered with plastic debris can deter tourists and locals from visiting, driving away potential business. In addition, plastic pollution can damage boats, fishing nets, and other equipment used by fishing industries, costing millions of dollars in repairs and lost productivity.