Plastic is not just invading our oceans, but is finding it's way to our fresh water lakes as well. One recent discovery made by the 5 Gyres Institute in Lake Erie found more than 450,000 micro polyethylene beads per square kilometer. Please excuse my switching from mile to KM in these articles. We are going through a transition here in the US to the metric system, and it's one of the most difficult things I've ever done.
The amazing thing about this discovery and the 5 Gyres Institute? The findings lead the institute to launch a massive grassroots campaign asking producers of these products (personal care products which contain plastic beads as an exfoliant) to eliminate plastic micro-beads in favor of natural alternatives.
"After reporting their scientific findings to companies that utilize micro-beads, the 5 Gyres Insitute has won several key victories that will help protect the Great Lakes ecosystem. Johnson & Johnson, L’Oreal, The Body Shop and Colgate-Palmolive have all pledged to remove these synthetic beads from their products by 2015. The 5 Gyres Institute has also received a pledge from Proctor & Gamble to phase out these beads by 2017, but the campaigning for an earlier phase-out continues." – http://ecowatch.com/2013/5-gyres-sets-sail-study-plastic-pollution-lake-michigan/
This is awesome! Corporations are paying attention to their findings and the grassroots campaigns. Here's a blog update from the 5 Gyres celebrating Victory #2 against Johnson & Johnson: http://5gyres.org/posts/2013/06/04/victory_2/ – Johnson & Johnson will phase out the use of plastic micro-beads.
Check out this video the 5 Gyres Institute put together. Over the course of four weeks, students and researchers lived and worked aboard a 200 year old sailing ship, conducting surface trawls and beach transects. They made the startling discovery that plastic pollution is not limited to our oceans: 5 Gyres Institute video