CHICAGO (CBS) — Some South Side college students learned a valuable environmental lesson outside of the classroom Saturday.
More than 100 students and faculty from the Illinois Institute of Technology spent part of the day cleaning up the 31st Street Beach.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Winter Weather Advisory Issued For Illinois, Winter Storm Watch For Parts Of Indiana
The group found cigarette butts, plastic straws, water bottles, food wrappers, and other debris littering the beach.READ MORE: Bradley Police Officer Tyler Bailey Shot In The Line Of Duty Moved From ICU To Standard Care According To Statement From Family
All of the trash that is picked up will be weighed and analyzed.
“What we’re able to do here is pick up large pieces of plastic, but in fact, they break down into small microplastic pieces that find their way all over the environment; suspended in the water column, they wash up in the sand on the beach – and we honestly don’t know a lot of about what happens to them yet and where they go,” said IIT Environmental Engineering Professor Paul Anderson.MORE NEWS: Cook County Reopens Third Vaccination Site In A Week In Effort To Get More Residents Vaccinated
Research will also be conducted at IIT to determine how those tiny microplastics work their way into the food chain and become toxic to aquatic organisms and people.