Public Lab Research note

Microplastics in Lake Pontchartrain

by cummins_leila | March 23, 2021 15:20 23 Mar 15:20 | #26006 | #26006


Jefferson Parish is bordered by Lake Pontchartrain which is a 630 square mile brackish water lake. It is one of the largest wetlands in the Gulf Coast. There are several major ecological stressors but we believe that pollution which includes microplastics is a big concern.

Our Main Concern:

Microplastics are toxic and can cause a decrease in biodiversity in the lake and ultimately hurt the fishing industry and the health of humans.

Obstacles and supporting information:

Marine animals accidentally ingest microplastics and ingest the toxic pollutants. Those toxins accumulate in the food chain.

Some obstacles are:

  • Lake Pontchartrain is huge. Getting a reliable sample that represents the content of the lake will be hard.
  • Finding the sources of where the microplastics enter the lake.
  • Identifying microplastics
  • Distinguishing between microplastics and other marine things
  • Educating the community about microplastic pollution

Who is engaged in this concern?

  • SAVE OUR LAKE initiative has programs
  • Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation
  • Other classes that are involved in the Public Lab education program

What are the initial questions?

  1. What types of litter end up in Lake Pontchartrain?
  2. Where are the greatest sources of litter entering the lake?
  3. How many samples should be collected?
  4. How many sites should be considered?
  5. How do we change the amount of litter that ends up in the Lake?
  6. How can we educate the community about microplastics?
  7. How can we stop people from littering?


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