Keeping the “Pure” in Pure Michigan!
Walking along the Lake Michigan beach it did not take long to fill a shopping bag with pieces of plastic large and small. It was lying loose on the beach as well as being tangled up in the roots of beach grass. The plastic is terrible.
In a recent story on the health of our global water systems it was reported that plastics now are everywhere. There are areas which are less polluted, but there are areas where the concentrations of plastics are almost overwhelming. There is an area in the Pacific Ocean as large as the state of Rhode Island that is a floating island of plastic waste. The same report said that plastics take from 100 to 500 years to breakdown. When they breakdown, they do not biodegrade into more simple chemical compounds. Instead, they simply get ground down into smaller and smaller particles of plastic. These particles are so small they are ingested by little fish and other aquatic organisms which form the bottom of the food chain. Larger and larger predators eat them, and the plastics make their way up the food chain to the point that most humans have in them little plastic particles. That includes you and me!
Sadly, that is not the end of the story. Many of the chemicals that are in our waters are called “hydrophobic.” They do not like water and so attach themselves to substances rather than staying suspended in water. Plastics are a ready host. The plastic particles become carriers of the chemicals which in turn become a part of the food chain. They are in the algae, the fish, and in us! This is not a pretty story!
So…what can we do? We Michiganders are blessed to be surrounded by the Great Lakes which comprise 20% of the world’s fresh water. This is an amazing blessing, but it also carries with it a responsibility. Our state has an advertising campaign called “Pure Michigan.” No doubt you have seen the logo and watched some of the ads. Let’s do our part to keep the “Pure” in Pure Michigan. Here are some things we all can do:
- DO NOT USE cleansing products which contain exfoliating micro-beads. Water treatment plants cannot remove these tiny beads and they get into our water and into the food chain. Read labels and avoid.
- AVOID PLASTIC PACKAGING as much as possible. This is nearly impossible to do, but try anyway.
- RECYCLE ALL PLASTICS that can be recycled. Look for the recycle triangle. It takes a little effort, but recycling is part of the solution.
- RECYCLE STYROFOAM. Styrofoam CAN be recycled, but you have to look for centers that accept it. Eaton County Recycling has sites that do. Dart Container in Mason has a drop off site, too.
- DISPOSE of non-recyclable plastics carefully and responsibly.
- PICK UP after others when you see littler especially plastic lying around. Set a good example for the public and for your family, too. It only takes a minute.
These are just a few quick ideas of what we can do to help protect our precious resource of clean, fresh water and to pass it on to generations to come. I am sure you can come up with some other suggestions, too. Let’s share them with each other and help keep the “Pure” in Pure Michigan!
And remember! I look forward to seeing you in church this Sunday!
Yours in Christ,