Mardi Gras Beads: Sweatshops, Pollution, And Other Dirty Little Secrets

By Karen Harris
Mardi Gras cleanup is a monumental task. (plasticpollutioncoalition.org)

If you've ever been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, or if you've even heard of either one of those things, you know that part of the experience is catching colorful Mardi Gras beads. Little do these bead-chasers know, however, that whatever nefarious deeds they did to get them, the acts that brought the beads into being were far worse. Let's examine why people throw beads, the sweatshops that make them, the environmental hazard they present, and how on Earth we can solve any of those problems. (Obviously, canceling Mardi Gras is not an option.)

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