Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - May 25, 2018 


President Trump scraps planned talks with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. Also on our Friday rundown: California lawmakers support and emergency hotline for foster kids; and boating is a booming business in states like Minnesota.

Daily Newscasts

Group Takes Aim at Plastic "Microbead" Pollution in Great Lakes

PHOTO: Tiny beads of plastic from facial and body cleansers have been collected from water samples in the Great Lakes, and scientists are now working to keep them out of the water system. Photo courtesy 5 Gyres.
PHOTO: Tiny beads of plastic from facial and body cleansers have been collected from water samples in the Great Lakes, and scientists are now working to keep them out of the water system. Photo courtesy 5 Gyres.
March 11, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Tiny plastic beads from facial cleansers and body scrubs have turned up in the Great Lakes at what a scientific advocacy team in a study calls "alarming levels," and could pose a threat to wildlife and fish.

According to Stiv Wilson, director of communications and campaigns at the Five Gyres Institute, these microbeads get washed down drains and are not being adequately captured by sewage treatment.

"That's the biggest problem with these facial cleansers is, they're not like other types of plastic pollution, where you could be recycling them or disposing of them properly," he said. "These are actually designed to go into the environment."

Wilson said legislation has been proposed in several Great Lakes states to begin to address the issue. In Minnesota, a bill being debated this session seeks a study on which of the state's surface waters are polluted with microbeads and what their effect is on aquatic ecosystems and human health.

In addition, Five Gyres has received commitments from several companies to eventually phase out their use of such plastic microbeads. Wilson said that in the meantime, people can take matters into their own hands by checking the ingredients on the cleansers they buy and use.

"Even if you look through the tube of, like, in a cleanser, if you see a bunch of suspended particles, chances are they're probably plastic microbeads," he advised.

Five Gyres Institute is a nonprofit research group that studies the effects of plastic pollution in the environment and advocates for cleaning it up.

That study is at 5Gyres.org. Bill details are at Revisor.MN.gov.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN