Beat the Micro Bead, Register for the Great Lakes Bowl, and Comment on the Clean Water Act

The Environment Report, with Mr. Great Lakes (Jeff Kart). As heard at 9 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM. For Nov. 1, 2013:

1- Wash your face, but don’t pollute the lakes. 

great lakes microbeads 5 gyres study

Via 5gyres.org.

One of the latest threats to the Great Lakes are microplastics, or those tiny beads found in household beauty products.

They may help clean your complexion, but they are apparently ending up in the lakes, bypassing steps taken to treat wastewater, because they slip through the screens. Not only are they unsightly, but they can accumulate toxic substances and be mistaken as food by fish.

So what’s a skin-caring person to do?

Enter “Beat the Micro Bead.” It’s a free app for your smartphone. It lets you scan barcodes. It tells you if the product you want to use contains microbeads, and whether the maker of the product has vowed by phase out the plastics.

The app was released this week in conjunction with a Great Lakes plastics study from the 5 Gyres group.

The study found high concentrations of microplastics in the Great Lakes, more than most ocean samples collected worldwide.

2 - Dec. 1 is the registration deadline for the Great Lakes Bowl.

This isn’t a football game. It’s a science question-and-answer competition, for high school students.

Standish-Sterling Central High School was on the list of teams in 2013. The Bowl is a regional competition that’s part of the Nation Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB).

In 2014, the Great Lakes Bowl will be held on Feb. 1 at the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment in Ann Arbor. The national competition is in Seattle in May.

The Great Lakes Bowl is limited to 16 high school teams. The deadline to register, again, is Dec. 1.

3 - The Clean Water Act needs comments.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a draft science advisory report on protecting streams and wetlands.

The National Wildlife Federation has put together a tool to allow people submit comments directly to the Federal Register on the Clean Water Act rules.

The public comment period ends Nov. 6.

The campaign is aimed at strengthening protections for streams and wetlands that surround the Great Lakes.

Streams and wetlands are important because they help support healthy ecosystems and filter out pollutants.

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