Brand-New Study Discovers Shocking Levels of Plastics in Lake Tahoe

A study has unveiled a high level of plastic waste in the pristine waters of Lake Tahoe, and it should be concerning to anyone who lives in or visits the area.

Published in Applied Spectroscopy in September, the study discovered an average of 133 pieces of large plastic waste per mile along the lake’s shores. While previous research had identified the presence of microplastics, this was the first to focus on larger chunks of plastic waste, which predominantly originated from food containers, bags, bottles, toys, fishing gear, and other common items.

Lake Tahoe is known for its breathtaking depth and clarity, holding the title of the third-deepest lake in North America and the 10th-deepest globally. It spans 191 square miles and boasts about 72 miles of shoreline. This study, however, sheds light on a growing environmental concern in this natural paradise.

“There’s very little work on submerged plastic litter in lakes,” said co-author Monica Arienzo, an associate research professor of hydrology at DRI, in a statement. “And I think that’s a real issue, because when we think about how plastics may be moving in freshwater systems, there’s a good chance that they’ll end up in a lake.”

The study’s findings are alarming, considering the toxic nature of plastics and their potential effects on health, including cancers, lung diseases, and cognitive impairments. Microplastics, now found everywhere from clouds to Antarctica, pose a direct risk to human health, with an average person inhaling the equivalent of a credit card’s worth of these particles every week.

In response, there’s a growing movement for policy change, akin to South Lake Tahoe’s ban on single-use plastics. The various environmental institutions in the area are working together to not only clean up Lake Tahoe, but also gather data to drive scientific understanding and policy reform.

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California

One Comment

  1. We do live in a society that is made up of many that are basically pigs. They do not take care of their surroundings.

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