Community service and
citizen science at the headwaters
of the Mississippi River:
and acting locally
to tackle plastic pollution
and RIVER ISSUES throughout our watershed!
A joint "Source to Sea" effort in partnership with:
the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative (MRCTI),
the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP),
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA),
the National Geographic Society (NGS)
the Bemidji Rotary Club
in cooperation with
Mississippi Headwaters River Angels
and other local community organizations
and regional Rotary Groups
Join us for
Did You Know?
Plastic pollution is the biggest problem
affecting our oceans today--and most of it comes from the interior of our continents, flowing downstream on rivers to the sea.
Click on the images below to find out more!
Litter from Lake Bemidji and its tributaries doesn't just disappear, it pollutes our local waterways and can travel far downstream from here
The Mississippi River watershed drains more than 40% of the United States --and local litter problems often flow downstream
This past year, during litter pickups all along the Mississippi River, 72% of the litter collected was plastic
Of the plastics collected along the river, most included plastic shopping bags and food wrappers, plastic bottles, and cigarette butts
Plastic litter also floats downstream to the Gulf of Mexico where it accumulates on coastal beaches and becomes part of a multi-ton swirling garbage patch offshore
In these swirling garbage patches, river-borne litter mixes with plastic marine debris, 94% of which is cast off fishing line and fishing nets
Plastics in both river and marine debris harm wildlife through strangulation, suffocation and ensnarement
Freshwater and marine animals also mistake floating litter for edible food, then die of starvation after consuming so much inedible plastic that it accumulates internally and causes blockage
Plastics in aquatic debris may break into smaller fragments, but these resist complete decomposition for up to 450 years
Smaller plastic fragments in the form of microplastics have been found accumulating in the tissues of smaller aquatic organisms, and then accumulate up the foodchain to higher organisms (including humans) who consume them, possibly causing long term health problems
What is the answer? Citizens and scientists together can make a difference! Take part in clean-up projects and citizen science monitoring programs!
A joint "Source to Sea" initiative has been launched to tackle this issue, with local community groups stepping up to take part in a river-wide partnership with local and regional Rotary Clubs,the MRCTI, UNEP, NOAA, & National Geographic
Efforts will focus on clean-up, environmental monitoring, and education. Join us!
You can help in many ways!
Reduce your own personal use of plastics
Don't buy or use throwaway single-use items made of plastic
Don't litter, and pick up litter whenever you see it
Recycle plastics and other waste whenever possible
help educate your neighbors and community members on this issue
join comunity clean-up projects
help monitor litter flow into our river system by joining the Marine Debris Tracker Citizen Science Project
investigate other sources of local pollution affecting our local waterways, and be part of the solution to the problem
learn more plastic, pollution and monitoring throughout the Mississippi River watershed
YOU CAN HELP!
FOR MORE INFORMATION,
CHECK OUT THESE WEBSITES!