Research Team Back From Great Lakes Plastic Search

Posted at: 08/29/2013 4:50 PM
Updated at: 08/29/2013 10:38 PM
By: Emily Haavik

Dr. Lorena Rios Mendoza was welcomed back to the University of Wisconsin Superior Thursday.

She returned from a research trip to the Great Lakes, searching for small plastic particles in the water. Rios said she was expecting to find plastic, but she was surprised at the amount.

"I was thinking at first, 'Oh, it is just a little microplastic," she said. "But then when I observed the sample under the microscope, we found thousands of micro bits and microplastic."

The microplastic is so small that it doesn't get stopped at waste treatment plants, according to Rios. She said it absorbs pollutants, and fish sometimes mistake it for food. Rios said the microplastic often comes from beauty products.