St. Paul Students Discover Microplastics in Local Lake
Seventh- and eighth-grade students in the Conservation Club at Achieve Language Academy in St. Paul, Minnesota, made a shocking discovery during a school project. The group took water samples from Beaver Lake, located behind their school, and found microplastics in the sample.
After taking several 100-milliliter water samples back to their classroom, the students separated the water from the solids in it. They then placed the solids on a graph-like paper disk under a microscope and discovered about 100 pieces of what appeared to be plastic and fiber.
Emily Vondriska, the teacher who leads the Conservation Club, said she was the first one to look at the disk and thought she was hallucinating. But after further examination, it became clear that the students had discovered microplastics in Beaver Lake.
Vondriska believes that the community needs to know about this discovery, as people swim and fish in Beaver Lake, and many eat the fish they catch. The students displayed all their macro plastics findings around Beaver Lake by the front entrance so that all their classmates could learn about plastic pollution as well.
This project taught the students how much they can learn right in their backyards, but it’s up to them to find it and do something about it. Vondriska encourages curiosity, as it “sparks this interest, if it’s something good or bad, it’s going to promote awareness and it’s going to educate everyone else.”
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says that microplastics in lakes are not regulated, but they encourage people to reduce plastic use and properly dispose of plastics. They also note that there is limited research on the health impacts of microplastics.
The MN Department of Health documents safe fish consumption guidelines, where people can look up which lakes have the highest contaminants in their fish.
While this discovery is concerning, it highlights the importance of environmental education and awareness. By teaching students to be curious about their surroundings and encouraging them to take action, we can work towards a cleaner and healthier planet. It’s up to all of us to do our part in reducing plastic use and properly disposing of plastics to protect our waterways and the wildlife that inhabit them.
- Environmental pollution
- Science education
- Beaver Lake
- Water quality
News Source : Marielle Mohs
Source Link :St. Paul science club students discover microplastics in Beaver Lake during class project/