Are MSU Students Poisoning the Red Cedar River?
It all has to do with the motor scooters many students and others use to make their ways around the vast MSU campus.
Touted as an "affordable, convenient" way to get around campus, there are hundreds of Spin Electric Scooters around MSU during the non-winter months. Riders can locate and unlock a nearby scooter using a smartphone app, and don't have to return their scooter where they got it - they're just asked to leave it in a safe location for the next rider to find it.
But that's not always what happens.
Electric Scooters Pulled From Red Cedar River on Michigan State Campus
Well more than 100 electric scooters have been pulled from the Red Cedar River this year.
Magnet fisher Xan DuLow recently led a team that pulled 30 scooters out of the river in just one visit. Their efforts were captured on this video, posted to DuLow's YouTube channel, The Magnetizer.
Why Electric Scooters Could Be Poisoning the Red Cedar River
According to Unagi, another manufacturer of electric scooters, the chemicals in electric scooter batteries can pose a serious problem if not disposed of correctly.
Batteries typically contain toxic chemicals such as lead, mercury, cadmium and nickel. These metals are intentionally added to the battery's cell chemistry because they are good conductors of electricity. But, once the batteries have reached their end-of-life, these same elements can leak into the environment when improperly disposed of and contaminate soil or groundwater.
Throwing scooters into the Red Cedar River could potentially lead to battery leaks that cause these toxic chemicals to leech out into the water.
Officials with Spin Electric Scooters and magnet fishers helping to clean up the Red Cedar River agree "more needs to be done on campus to address the issue before it starts, and that college students should be informed of the dangers of the pollution," as reported by WLNS.