Plastics found in most Lake Huron water samples

Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation logo. (Submitted image)

Lake Huron Coastal Centre Stewardship Technician, Alyssa Bourassa says 83.3 per cent of the twenty-four lake water samples that were collected from Lake Huron at the beginning and the end of last year’s Coast Watcher season, contained micro-plastics. And when the samples were tested in 2018, 95.7 per cent of the samples contained micro-plastics.

Bourassa says in both 2018 and in 2021, micro-fibres were the most common micro plastics found. Bourassa says that wasn’t a surprise, since micro-fibres are commonly released from clothes in washing machines. She says, if the washing machine doesn’t have a micro fibre filter, they are released into the municipal waste water system and since micro-fibres are one hundred times finer than human hair, most waste water treatment plants to not have the proper filters to take the micro-fibres out and they make their way into the lake.

Bourassa says all micro plastics pose a risk to humans and wild life by contaminating drinking water and animal habitats and small plastic pellets can easily be mistaken by wild life for food and more research still needs to be done to determine how the ingestion of plastics can impact humans and wild life

Bourassa points out, the micro-fibres are too fine to be seen with the naked eye, but there are filters that can be purchased for home washing machines that will catch the micro-fibres and will prevent them from getting into Lake Huron.