Ontario/Cobourg Takes Action in Cobourg to Reduce Plastic Pollution in the Great Lakes

In Community, News

On Friday, October 30, 2020, David Piccini, Member of Provincial Parliament for NorthumberlandPeterborough South, joined Pollution Probe and dignitaries from the Town of Cobourg to celebrate Ontario’s investment to install innovative plastic capture technologies in the Cobourg Marina and West Harbour. The Ontario Government is providing Pollution Probe with $375,000 to install two types of plastic capture devices, Seabins and LittaTraps, in up to 12 marinas around the province to collect plastic waste.

As part of its funding agreement with the province, Pollution Probe will also analyze the types and amounts of waste collected and publicly share the results to help increase awareness of plastic pollution and its proper disposal.

“This will be the largest initiative of its kind in the world to tackle plastic pollution in provincial lakes and waterways,” said MPP David Piccini. “Removing plastic from the Great Lakes and educating the public about the proper disposal of plastic waste will help ensure impacts on wildlife are reduced, biodiversity is protected, and water resources and ecosystems are safeguarded for future generations. Engaging recreational water users and local communities in solutions to plastic pollution is critical.”

“I am so pleased to be working collaboratively with both the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup project, Pollution Probe and its many project partners,” said Mayor John Henderson. “Keeping our waterways clean has always been a priority for the Town of Cobourg, and we are proud to support an initiative that will not only help protect but improve water quality for all.”

“I am thrilled to welcome the Town of Cobourg to the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup,” said Christopher Hilkene, CEO of Pollution Probe. “With support from the Province Of Ontario, Cobourg is contributing to the largest initiative of its kind in the world to tackle plastic pollution in our waters. The technologies we are deploying here, and around the Great Lakes, will clean plastic and other debris from the water and what we collect will contribute to important research that will fill knowledge gaps and support effective policy decisions. The Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup will also play an important role in empowering people to take action in their communities.”

Ontario’s investment in plastics capture technology is in addition to the $7.47 million the province recently announced to support 65 projects that address a variety of environmental challenges facing the Great Lakes, such as increased levels of pollutants, excess nutrients and rising levels of invasive species.

As outlined in the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan, Ontario is committed to protecting our water resources and Great Lakes, as well as to reducing plastic pollution, including microplastics that enter our province’s waterways.

· Seabin devices are trash skimmers that move up and down with the natural flow of open water to collect floating debris on the water’s surface. Each device is capable of collecting over 8 lbs of
waste per day, including microplastics, large items of plastic waste and floating debris made up of other materials.

· LittaTrap™ devices are installed in storm drains and catch and retain plastic and litter found in stormwater runoff when it rains. Each device can collect debris over 5mm in size from
stormwater. Every year an estimated 22 million pounds of plastic pollution end up in the Great Lakes.

· Data from volunteer beach cleanups show that typically more than 80 percent of litter along the shorelines of the Great Lakes is comprised of plastics.

·  The co-creators of the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup, Mark Fisher, Council of Great Lakes Region, and Christopher Hilkene, Pollution Probe, have strong roots in the Town of Cobourg.

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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