No one understands the importance of the Great Lakes more than the people who live, work and play on its shores. The Mining Journal proudly counts itself in that sizeable group.
That's why we support a call from an organization comprised of representatives of more than 100 U.S. and Canadian cities - many located on the shores of the Great Lakes - to limit and ultimately eliminate the use of what's called microplastics.
The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative believes some are abrasive "microbeads" used in personal care products such as facial and body washes, deodorants and toothpaste, The Associated Press reported this week.
They're so minuscule that they flow through screens at waste treatment plants and wind up in the lakes where they can be mistaken for food by fish and birds.
Separate research suggests the world's oceans are, to at least some degree, in the same boat.
The organization is sending letters to 11 companies that use microplastics, asking them to switch to biodegradable alternatives. Some are doing so, AP reported. All should be encouraged.
Regrettably, such are the wages of mass production of a material that has found its way into virtually every aspect of life but doesn't biodegrade. The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative believes much can still be done to correct the problem. We support their action