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Title:A Pan-Great Lakes Study of Plastic Pellet Distribution
Author(s):Corcoran, Patricia; Belontz, Sara; Arturo, Ian; Hill, Carolyn
Abstract:Plastic pre-production pellets were first identified in the natural environment in the 1970s. Most commonly found on surface waters and beaches, pellets litter shorelines worldwide, even in regions remote from plastic production facilities. Because of their global distribution, pellets pose threats to epipelagic organisms and seabirds that mistake the pellets for food. We conducted a pan-Great Lakes sampling program for plastic pellets to determine: (1) the most contaminated sites, (2) the potential sources of waste pellets, and (3) the pathways of pellets into the lakes. In October 2018, we surveyed 67 Great Lakes beaches for pellets and other plastic debris. The number of pellets ranged from 0-7371/m2, with the greatest numbers near Rossport and Katherine Cove (Superior), Sheboygan and Bay View (Michigan), Sarnia and Goderich (Huron), Holiday Harbour and Fort Erie (Erie), and Oakville and Burlington (Ontario). All but one of these sites are located within 5 km of a tributary, indicating that rivers and creeks are the main pathways for pellets to the lakes. Other factors controlling pellet distribution include proximity to plastic manufacturers, surface water current patterns, and sites of pellet spills during transport.
Issue Date:2019-05-22
Series/Report:2019 Emerging Contaminants in the Environment Conference (ECEC19)
Genre:Conference Paper / Presentation
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-05-31

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