This morning Made Collective, Lake Life Studio and Wild Sage Co partnered with the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation to host a beach clean-up at Canatara Park in Sarnia, ON. In two hours, 29 volunteers collected 35 pounds of garbage. The waste included plastic bottles, cigarette butts, straws, bottle caps, broken toys, diapers and lots and lots of microplastics.
Wikipedia defines microsplastics as “Small pieces of plastic that pollutes the environment. While there is some contention over their size, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) classifies microplastics as less than 5 mm in diameter. They come from a variety of sources, including cosmetics, clothing, and industrial processes.”
My family and I spend a significant amount of time on the beaches of Lake Huron and I never noticed microplastics in the sand before today. We collected a small handful of microplastics in less than an hour. It’s these tiny, clear bits of plastic that fish and turtles eat, mistaking them for food. Microplastics harm marine life, water quality and the coastline.
Our family has decided to bring a small container and pair of gloves with us each timewe go to the beach this summer. We will take a few minutes to collect the waste we see around us - not just the obvious things like straws and bottle caps but the smaller, more difficult to spot stuff too.
Not being a smoker I never gave much thought to cigarette butts...but they are everywhere. And cigarette filters are made of plastic fibers (cellulose acetate) that are tightly packed together and do NOT biodegrade. This morning our most found item of waste was cigarette butts. Canatara Park doesn’t have any cigarette butt receptacles or disposal containers. We are going to make a call to City of Sarnia and ask if there are plans for this type of receptacle. We’ll keep you posted.
If something so small like micro plastics can have such a big impact then small good things can have an equally big impact. We believe every small change makes a difference. Recycle or toss your trash where it belongs or do it for others when they don't. Then go enjoy the sun, sand and beautiful, big blue lake we are lucky enough to live beside.