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Michigan researcher tracking balloon debris near Lake Superior

Balloon debris on a Great Lakes beach. Submitted photo
Balloon debris on a Great Lakes beach. Submitted photo

A University of Michigan graduate student and researcher is tracking balloon litter near Lake Superior to raise awareness of how balloons impact the environment.

Lara O’Brien is a master’s student at the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability. She created an interactive website that shows via a map where the balloons are found and allows people to submit photos of the debris.

The site launched in June 2019 and has since collected nearly 1,000 findings of balloon litter in the Great Lakes region, including some on Isle Royale, the Apostle Islands and near Duluth.  

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke with O’Brien to learn more about the ongoing project.
 

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