You've heard of plastic garbage trapped in the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean gyres. But how much plastic debris is floating around the Great Lakes? Next month Sherri "Sam" Mason, a professor within SUNY Fredonia's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and coordinator of the school's Environmental Sciences program, will lead a survey of plastic pollution in the Great Lakes. The project is being done in collaboration with the 5 Gyres Institute, as part of a three-week summer Environmental Sciences Field Study course. Students will use a "manta trawl" -- a net system used for sampling the surface of a body of water. Mason said she expects to find a "significant amount of plastic debris." She told The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer -- which reported on the study on Page 1 of today's issue -- that she decided to organize the survey after she witnessed plastic trash tumble over Niagara Falls. Lake Erie, which has experienced improving water quality since it was the butt of jokes in the 1960s, could be an interesting case study, according to the PD report. One one hand, because it is the shallowest Great Lake, water flows through it at a faster rate, so pollution may be minimized, Mason told the newspaper. But because water from Huron, Michigan and Superior flow into Erie, the lake could have the highest concentration of plastic pollution.
Plastic pollution study set for Great Lakes
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