Monday, December 7, 2015

Plastic microbeads polluting St. Lawrence River, McGill researchers find

With our ever increasing knowledge about microbeads, I wondered what is typically found in terms of volume in our rivers? Much of our discovery this term has centered on what has been found entering much larger waterways, such as the Great Lakes. So my search led me to the Saint Lawrence river, which serves as the primary drainage for the Great Lakes. It is also a part of the international boundary between Ontario Canada and the state of New York.

In their research, graduate students and professors from McGill University as well as the Quebec government collected sediment from various locations along the river and found an incredible amount of microbeads within those sediment samples. These samples were then sifted and the microbeads were separated, sorted and counted. The article documents that at some locations over 1000 microbeads per liter of sediment were found, According to associate professor and biologist Anthony Ricciardi, the amount was: "a magnitude that rivals the worlds most contaminated ocean sediments."

The researchers have also spent some time dissecting fish that feed along the river bed looking for microbeads inside as they concluded: "if they build up in large enough numbers as they appear to be, they can more easily enter the food chain,"(Ricciardi).
The Quebec Green party is hoping that support for Banning microbeads in the United States will give them the legislative support that they need to follow suit in

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