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Mardi Gras Beads Pose Environmental Threat
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12 Feb 2018 11:03 AM EST

At Mardi Gras, beads are part of the fun. Nudity is not required to get them — even in the French Quarter. While many of them go home with people as souvenirs of one of the planet's most well-known parties, plenty end up in the trash. The necklaces make their way into storm drains, blocking them, and they also end up out in the Gulf of Mexico and the ocean. During an emergency cleanout of the city's storm drains after flooding in August, about 93,000 pounds of plastic beads were pulled from catchment basins — and the cleaning's not even done yet. There's no estimate of how many pounds made their way into local and regional waterways.

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