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The Tennessee River cutting through Signal and Raccoon Mountain.The Tennessee River cutting through Signal and Raccoon Mountain.

UWindsor scientist weighs in on freshwater pollutant find

Scientists sampling water in the Tennessee River found that microplastics are prolific, proving that the pollutants aren’t just an ocean problem.

Hydroecologist Jill Crossman of the UWindsor Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, told National Geographic reporter Sarah Gibbens that microscopic pieces of plastic can enter freshwater systems in a number of ways — from large plastic discarded over the sides of boats to synthetic clothing fibres washed down drains.

“It is important to continue research in this area because once microplastics are in the environment, there is no known way to effectively remove them,” Dr. Crossman said. “While we don't know yet the full impact on microplastics in the environment, the rate of accumulation of plastics in general in our watercourses is quite alarming.”

Read Gibbens’ full article, “‘Alarming level’ of microplastics found in a major U.S. river,” on the National Geographic website.