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  • Writer's pictureThe Cleanup Team

Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup Initiative Launches New Campaign to Prevent Plastic Pollution

“Little Bits, Big Problem” PSA encourages Canadians to help stop buildup of plastic in our waterways

TORONTO – May 11, 2021 – Aligned with the launch of this year’s boating season and just in time for the Ontario Provincial Day of Action on Litter taking place today, the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup (GLPC) has kicked off its “Little Bits, Big Problems” campaign with the introduction of a new public service announcement, designed to encourage communities across Canada to join in the efforts to address plastic pollution in the Great Lakes.

Launched last August, the GLPC brings together partners from across Ontario to take action on the plastic pollution problem on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes, as well as the waterways between and around them. The program’s newest campaign, “Little Bits, Big Problems,” takes a closer look at the cumulative impact of discarded plastics on our waterways and shorelines, including small plastic pieces — one of the most collected items of litter from shoreline cleanups last year.

“While plastics have many economic and societal benefits, they have devastating effects on our Great Lakes and surrounding waterways,'' says Mark Fisher, President and CEO, Council of the Great Lakes Region. “Little Bits, Big Problems aims to bring greater awareness and show Ontarians, as well as communities across the eight Great Lakes states, exactly how big of a problem little plastics can add up to be.”

The Great Lakes are home to 3,500 species of plants and animals under threat from plastic debris, which accounts for approximately 80% of the litter found on Great Lakes shorelines. It is estimated that a staggering 10 million kilograms of plastic enters the largest freshwater system in the world each year from Canada and the United States. It could cost as much as $400 million annually to manage this plastic pollution problem.

The launch of the campaign comes just in time for the start of boating season and the deployment of the initiative’s two innovative technologies - Seabins and Littatrap™ devices - which aim to capture plastic debris along the shorelines and prevent the flow of plastic and other debris from entering the lakes. Research is then conducted on the plastic that is recovered, helping to inform public policy and other actions, including public engagement.

“Plastic is more than just an eyesore when it enters our waterways. Evidence shows that the millions of kilograms that enter the Great Lakes each year are harming wildlife and the important ecosystem on which they depend,” says Christopher Hilkene, CEO, Pollution Probe, one of the GLPC’s founding partners. “The new campaign and PSA come at the perfect time, helping us to expand the GLPC by encouraging more marina and community participation.”

As of April 2021, 26 marinas across the Great Lakes regions have partnered with the initiative to install Seabins and LittaTrap devices, a number that the GLPC hopes to increase significantly by the end of 2021. The GLPC’s ‘Little Bits, Big Problem’ campaign encourages all to participate and take action to help prevent the flow of plastic pollution into the environment and keep its waters safe and clean for everyone to enjoy.

For more information, visit, or follow along at @GLPCleanup (on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram)

About the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup

The Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup, spearheaded by the Council of the Great Lakes Region and Pollution Probe, is the largest initiative of its kind in the world. It involves the use of innovative Seabin and LittaTrap technology to capture and remove plastic and other litter at marinas from Lake Ontario to Lake Superior and everywhere in between. Through research, outreach and education, the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup is working to identify and understand the types of litter entering our waterways and how government, industry, and consumers can work together to reduce, reuse and recycle material waste.

About Pollution Probe

Pollution Probe is a national, not-for-profit, charitable organization which is improving the health and well-being of Canadians by advancing policy that achieves positive, tangible environmental change. It is a leader in building successful partnerships with industry and government to develop practical solutions for shared environmental challenges.

About Council of the Great Lakes Region

Established in 2013, the Council is a binational, member-driven, non-profit corporation that is dedicated to deepening the United States-Canada relationship in the Great Lakes economic region. It focuses on creating stronger, more dynamic cross-border collaborations in harnessing the region’s economic strengths and assets, improving the well-being and prosperity of the region’s citizens, and protecting the Great Lakes watershed for future generations. It achieves this by connecting regional leaders through the annual Great Lakes Economic Forum and sector dialogues, exploring key trends shaping the region and proposing solutions and strategies that move the region forward through public policy research, and acting as a strong voice for the region’s varied socioeconomic and environmental interests.

Media Contact

Lisa Raffaele

Bubblegum Canada




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