Growing up on Lake Michigan, I was always aware that there were ... things ... in the water. Not sharks or jellyfish, but minnows and bluegill And an older brother who loved to sneak up on me for an underwater scare.
In particularly nasty years, there were also far too many dead alewives (seriously, those fish clogged beaches far too often in my childhood). And yes, that's me in the photo. To say that I loved the water as a kid is a bit of an understatement.
The thing I didn't think about back then is what kind of non-natural things might be in the water. In recent years, studies have shown the extent of pollution from microplastics throughout the Great Lakes.
So I welcome the news that the Council of the Great Lakes Region has created Circular Great Lakes, an "initiative focused initially on keeping valuable plastic materials out of the waste stream and the environment by forging a future without waste in this vital, binational economic region."
The plastics industry backed Alliance to End Plastic Waste and individual companies including Dow Inc. are also a part of the project to develop a circular economy strategy for plastics in the area.
"Circular Great Lakes will be the catalyst for identifying the transformational projects, forming the partnerships, and mobilizing the public-private sector investments required to ensure this valuable material never becomes waste in this region, North America's economic engine," Mark Fisher, president and CEO of CGLR said in a news release.
Priorities of the initiative include driving systemic changes necessary to close the loop for plastics in the region, shifting away from a linear, take-make-dispose economy and materials management mindset.