Great Lakes Plastic Pollution

The Great Lakes receive an estimated 22 million pounds of plastic debris each year. The plastic pollution that is plaguing our oceans are also affecting the Great Lakes.

I've been documenting plastic pollution at Kathy Osterman Beach in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. While this might appear to be a local issue, it's actually a symptom of a larger societal problem. As such, it will require more awareness, conversation, and research about plastic pollution before we are able to reverse the impact we've had on ourselves and the environment.

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 - Great Lakes Plastic Pollution - Photographs by Michael Courier

An overflowing bin with piles of trash placed next to it (May 28, 2018). Though this might feel like a local issue, it also highlights our societal reliance of single-use plastic products. You can learn more about beach trash from Memorial Day Weekend on my site, or you can watch this video I created that is a decent summary.

 - Great Lakes Plastic Pollution - Photographs by Michael Courier

A duck swimming through plastic waste, including: wrappers, bags, balloon fragments, and a condom (May 28, 2018).

 - Great Lakes Plastic Pollution - Photographs by Michael Courier

Washed ashore: a plastic water bottle along the coastline of Lake Michigan (October 2, 2018).

 - Great Lakes Plastic Pollution - Photographs by Michael Courier

A plastic bag in the waves of Lake Michigan (October 2, 2018).

 - Great Lakes Plastic Pollution - Photographs by Michael Courier

Microplastic fragments and plastic nurdles (October 17, 2018).

You Can Help

To solve a problem, the first step is awareness — to be aware that there is a problem. I've compiled a list of articles, videos, websites, and tips that have been useful to me as I've worked on this project.

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 - Great Lakes Plastic Pollution - Photographs by Michael Courier

A volunteer cleans up plastic waste at Montrose Beach in Chicago, Illinois (September 15, 2018).