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June 04, 2013     Post 38
plastic in our lake

Plastic in Our Lake
For now we are abandoning the series on dredging our channels. It appears that Hurricane Sandy money may 'bail out' Fair Haven one more time. We will revisit this issue in future years I suspect ( assuming we are still sailing a five foot draft boat).

So we are moving on to a new topic- or rather re visiting another old one that I have written on before. Plastic pollution of water. It's a huge problem. A few years ago we Americans tossed 46 billion pounds of plastic. And quite a bit of it ended up in Lake Ontario.

It's a problem because it leaches noxious chemicals into the water and the food chain and tiny particles of plastic adsorb and attract other chemicals that also can enter the food chain if a fish or other critter eats the stuff. And we all know what species sits on top of the food chain around here- those two legged lords and masters of the universe sailing old schooners around!

Remember Project Kaisai? She was the little Japanese brigantine that we found languishing in San Diego in between jobs. An energetic woman named Mary Crowley put her to work studying plastic pollution in the Pacific Ocean “garbage patch”. A couple years ago her efforts earned her the back page 'making a difference' story in the Christian Science Monitor and Internet content suggests that she still has Kaisai hard at work raising awareness and adding knowledge to the problem.

It's world wide, and in recent years stories about plastic pollution in the Great Lakes are showing up on line. One of them mentioned a chemist named Sherri Mason at Fredonia who did a cruise last summer aboard the Niagara, a tall ship replica of Perry's flag ship based in Erie P A. The story mentioned cruises were planned for Lake Ontario in 2013.

I volunteered "Sara B's" services via e mail and Dr. Mason said-hey why not? She forwarded a neuston net and a box of bottles and so Sara B has a 'mission' for her June cruise. We will be updating this issue but here is a good overview of the problem in this National Geographic story. copy and paste into url bar to get to it. Or type plastic pollution great lakes into Google search.


Other websites that discuss efforts to stop plastic plankton from accumulating in the oceans include
www.projectkaisai.org and http://www.plasticdebris.org/ both California based.
Bottom line, we need to keep the stuff from getting thrown out. That means some serious industrial re-design of single use packaging is in order. Consumers can help too. Yes, I will try to remember my re-useable bag next trip to the grocery store!!

Stay tuned for more soon.

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