WXXI AM News

Pollution

The Seneca Park Zoo Society is gearing up for its second annual Environmental Innovation Awards and Symposium. The event celebrates leadership in environmental stewardship, and honors companies that are creating innovative solutions to complex environmental problems.

This year's keynote speaker, Brett Howell, is an environmental entrepreneur whose work focuses on plastic pollution prevention. He joins us to discuss his recent projects, and our guests from the Zoo Society share updates related to sustainability, green technology, and conservation education in the Rochester and Finger Lakes area.

Our guests:

  • Pamela Reed Sanchez, president and CEO of the Seneca Park Zoo Society
  • Suzanne Hunt, member of the board of trustees for the Seneca Park Zoo Society, and president of Hunt Green, LLC
  • Brett Howell, environmental entrepreneur 

Conversations about plastic pollution often center around their impact on the world’s oceans, but what’s happening in our own backyard? Plastics and microplastics are imposing environmental pressures on the Great Lakes. From organic and inorganic pollution, to the threat of invasive species, to climate change, plastics are threatening the fresh water demands of many communities that rely on the lake system.

This hour, we’re joined by scientists who help us understand the current state and health of the Great Lakes and what’s at stake. We also preview Earth Day events happening at the College at Brockport. In studio:

  • Sherri "Sam" Mason, sustainability coordinator for Penn State Behrend
  • Jim Haynes, professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Ecology at the College at Brockport
  • Jamie Spiller, professor of modern U.S. history and environmental history at the College at Brockport
  • Tammy Bleier, graduate student at the College at Brockport studying microplastics in the Great Lakes. and founder of Plastic Lakes Project

Veronica Volk / Great Lakes Today

In the Great Lakes region, toxic algae blooms are a big problem. Every summer, they leave a green sheen on parts of the Great Lakes – and on many smaller lakes. New York State has a new campaign to find solutions. But some question the approach.

In his lab at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, Greg Boyer stands beside his mass spectrometer. This machine is analyzing the chemical makeup of algae samples, specifically, those that produce deadly toxins.

The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute at the Rochester Institute of Technology is awarding grants around the state to implement programs that will raise awareness about pollution prevention.

The aim is to establish prevention practices and at a local level.

WXXI’s Alex Crichton spoke with Anahita Williamson, Director of the Pollution Prevention Institute, during Morning Edition on WXXI-AM 1370 Thursday.

Click on the audio player above to listen to the interview.