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Microplastics are in our water, and researchers want to find out how bad the problem is

Microplastics found in sand on a beach [shutterstock / chayanuphol]
Microplastics found in sand on a beach [shutterstock / chayanuphol]

According to a Congressional report from 2021, the United States generates about 42 million metric tons of plastic waste each year.

That's about 287 pounds of plastic per person, per year.

The complicating thing about plastic, is it virtually never goes away. Something as small as a plastic water bottle will take roughly 400 years to break down.

Most of that plastic waste ends up in landfills, some of it's recycled while some of it, winds up in our waterways, breaking down into tiny particulates called microplastics.

That's the topic of the first half of the program today; the problem these microplastics pose.

The catch, these microplastics are still a relatively new ecological problem, we don't really know how much of a concern they actually are

One of the concerns is the relationship to these microplastics and our drinking water.

But a researcher from Ohio State University is about to spend several years looking at the microplastics issue in the water around Lake Erie.

Stick around, as later in the show, my conversation with Case Western Reserve University Professor Timothy Beal.

He has a new book out that looks at how humans are treating the Earth and how our consumption of natural resources has played out through a religious lens.

- John Lenhart, Professor, Civil Environmental and Geodetic Engineering, The Ohio State University

- Jill Bartolotta, Extension Educator, Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory

- Timothy Beal, Professor of Religious Studies, Case Western Reserve University; Author “When Time Is Short: Finding Our Way In The Anthropocene”

- Drew Maziasz, Producer, Ideastream Public Media

Drew Maziasz is a coordinating producer for the "Sound of Ideas" and also serves as the show’s technical producer.