Alarming amount of plastic found in sand on Sunset Beach
A day at the beach for some 4th year Brock University Geography students tasked with assessing plastic waste have come back with some alarming results.
In October, the students visited Sunset Beach in north St. Catharines to measure the quantity of plastics turning up on the sand.
Students measured out one metre plots on the beach and sifted through the sand to collect as many tiny pieces of plastic as they could.
In one sample, 665 pieces of plastic material were discovered.
Another surprise to the team was the prevalence of nurdles.
Nurdles are plastic pellets used to manufacture many different goods.
A 2013 Toronto Star article suggested nurdles may have made their way into Lake Ontario via the Humber River during a factory fire.
Brock Geography Professor Michael Pisaric called the amount and variety of plastics collected in the samples “striking.”
“I think much of the discussion concerning plastics in the environment has been focused on the oceans and we are quickly understanding that plastic pollution is also an important issue closer to home in the Great Lakes,” said Pisaric, who is also Chair of the Geography and Tourism Studies Department.
“This small study of a single beach on Lake Ontario clearly shows the prevalence of plastic pollution in our own backyard is a serious problem.”