Northern Michigan in Focus: Marine Debris

When our youth gets involved in concerns about our water, it’s a good thing.

Corey Adkins shows you what a group in Alpena is doing to help our Great Lakes in this week’s Northern Michigan in Focus.

“When we look out on Lake Huron and look out on our beautiful Great Lakes and the surface water looks so clean and clear, it’s really hard to imagine that there are truly serious issues facing our Great Lakes,” said Stephanie Gandulla with the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

It is a big problem in our Great Lakes: garbage. But it’s what you can’t see that may be the most concerning.

“People have had an effect on what’s in the lakes, for sure. Whether it’s big pieces of debris, plastic bags, tires and things like that, or just plastic that breaks down, breaks down, and breaks down because it never goes away into micro-plastics that you can’t see, but we know are very prevalent in the Great Lakes,” explained Stephanie.

So the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary has teamed up with the 4-H group Plastics FLOAT to make a new display at the sanctuary to raise awareness about marine debris.

“The problem is that people are using a lot of single-use plastics and it’s ending up in our waters and hurting the wildlife, like fish, and then we end up eating it because we eat the fish and the fish eat the plastic. It’s hurting everything in the water,” said Sylvie Luther, an 8th grade student at Alpena Junior High. “It’s pretty embarrassing just to know that we are part of the problem. No, we are the problem with what’s going on in the oceans and the Great Lakes, and it’s sad.”

It’s their goal to educate as many people as they can about single use plastics.

“Just try to reuse everything you can and recycle it, and try not to use them if it all possible, those single-use plastics, so you can be part of a solution,” said Sylvie.

Stephanie added, “I think one of the most important things we can do, let’s talk to each other and help each other do these things to take care of our lakes.”

Categories: Northern Michigan In Focus