Professor Takes Trip To Research Plastic In Great Lakes
Posted at: 08/18/2013 3:11 PM
| Updated at: 08/18/2013 10:37 PM
By: Laurie Stribling
A UWS professor headed to Lake Michigan Sunday for the first stop on a ten-day research trip.
Dr. Lorena Rios-Mendoza will be traveling the Great Lakes looking for small pieces of plastic. She said plastic easily absorbs pollutants and can damage the water and the animals that live inside it.
To stop this trend, Mendoza is hoping to change how people use plastic with more education backed by this research.
"We are addicted to the plastic," Mendoza said. "We sleep in the plastic, we eat in the plastic, and work in the plastic and we're using the plastic all the time. We know it's bad, but still we use it."
Mendoza said plastic can be very small, for example the micro beads in body wash. She said those small particles don't get stopped at waste treatment plants and eventually make their way into lakes.
Mendoza's message is already inspiring students.
"Maybe this research will lead to a lot of education on how we can limit and reduce the plastic or not use it anymore," student Chi Yeon Evans said.
The group will visit Lake Michigan, Huron and Erie returning on August 28.
Last year on the trip, Mendoza's research found more micro plastic in the ocean by weight, but more quantity in a condensed form on Lake Erie.