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Great Lakes Becoming Plastic Dump

According to a new study from the Rochester Institute of Technology, nearly 22 million pounds, or 10 metric tons, of plastic flows into the Great Lakes every year.

That’s why the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary is offering a few tips for a greener new years resolution.

According to the RIT study Lake Huron receives 600 metric tons of plastic every year, whereas Lake Michigan receives a whopping 5 thousand metric tons per year.

As a whole, plastics represent 80 percent of the litter that washes up on Great Lake shorelines every year, and Alpena is no exception according to the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary’s, Stephanie Gandulla.

“All sorts of different plastics. Even though it doesn’t look like it at first glance – we have a beautiful lake–scape, and river–scape, and the land look beautiful. But if you look a little closer and you start picking up the trash there are a lot of small plastic bits. So, I really think the biggest thing is to start noticing the plastic that you use in your life, and then how you dispose of it.”

Gandulla went on to say a few of the easiest ways to cut back on plastic use is to bring your own reusable bag with you whenever you shop.

Area students also said that the one of the most common pieces of litter they find along the beaches of Alpena is cigarette butts, and a simple goal for 2017 is to properly dispose of them.