Pennsylvania tested waterways contaminated with microplastics – CBS Pittsburgh


PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Plastic bags are everywhere, including in our homes and stores.

The deputy director of PennEnvironment said that they are also in our water and on our streets. The organization tested 53 popular streams in the state, including the three rivers in Pittsburgh, and found the streams were contaminated with microplastics, which are pieces of plastic smaller than a grain of rice.

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“Often these tiny pieces of plastic contain chemicals linked to cancer and hormonal disruption,” said Deputy Director Ashleigh Deemer. “They can be found in our drinking water sources and they can be taken up by fish and then consumed by us.”

Deemer said people consume about the value of a plastic credit card every week. She added that plastic bags also cause a waste problem and have a negative impact on climate change.

“Without changing course, we know that emissions from the production and incineration of plastic could climb to 56 gigatonnes of carbon by 2050,” Deemer said. “That’s almost 50 times the annual emissions from all coal-fired power plants in the United States.”

Deemer said one of the best ways to save people and the planet is to ban plastic bags. Over 100 organizations and business owners signed a letter to show their support.

The owner of City Books is one of the supporters.

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“I think paper bags ensure the sustainability of our business model, and then we are able to pay for that in terms of the environment and customers,” said owner Arlan Hess.

Deemer said they are urging members of Pittsburgh City Council to ban plastic bags.

“We believe this policy has the potential to prevent 108 million plastic bags from entering our waste stream and our environment each year,” Deemer said.

Local KDKA residents took the floor to support the idea.

“I’m going to use a plastic bag for the kitty litter, but I can also use a paper bag for this,” said Frank Grigore, a resident of Shadyside.

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Board member Erika Strassburger said she had been working for months on legislation to ban plastic bags. She plans to introduce a bill this fall.


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