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  • Writer's pictureThe Cleanup Team

New Funding Helps Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup Initiative

Government of Ontario contributes $375,000 to initiative; helps curb plastic problems in our waterways and brings up to 12 new marinas on board

A first-of-its-kind initiative, the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup was infused today with a $375,000 contribution from the Government of Ontario to Pollution Probe to support the program.

The Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup initiative, launched this past August, was founded by Boating Ontario, the Council of the Great Lakes Region, Pollution Probe, PortsToronto and the U of T Trash Team with support from Environment and Climate Change Canada and sustaining funding from lead corporate sponsor NOVA Chemicals. Strengthening the initiative, the new Government of Ontario funding allows for an additional 12 marinas to join the cause. The announcement was made earlier today, live streamed from The Toronto Zoo, a major outreach and engagement partner that helps bring the cause in front of 1.3 million visitors a year.

The Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup brings together partners from across Ontario to take action on the plastics pollution problem on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes, as well as the waterways between and around them. Through the initiative, research is conducted on the plastic that is captured and recovered, helping to inform public policy and other actions, including public engagement.

“Plastic in the water is an eyesore, but its impact goes far beyond just the aesthetic,” says Christopher Hilkene, CEO, Pollution Probe, which has been advocating for waste reduction, including through the repurposing and redirecting of waste, moving towards a circular economy and extending the usable life of products including plastics, throughout the organization’s 50-year history. “The Government of Ontario’s investment supports our overall goal of protecting and cleaning up our Great Lakes and connecting waterways, which make up 21% of the world's fresh water supply.”

As a result of the Government of Ontario’s funding, the following marinas will be joining the 11 already participating in the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup:

· Harbour West Marina – Hamilton

· Erieau Marina – Erieau

· Cobourg Marina – Cobourg

· Hindson Marina – Penetanguishene

· Mitchell’s Bay Marine Park – Mitchell’s Bay

· Point Pleasant – Parry Sound

· Bridgeview Marina – Sarnia

· Sarnia Bay – Sarnia

· South Bay Cove – Port Severn

· Township of Georgian Bay – Port Severn

“Plastic has many economic and societal benefits, but it doesn’t belong in the environment and we must do everything possible to end plastic waste,” says Mark Fisher, President and CEO, Council of the Great Lakes Region. “Today’s funding announcement from the Ontario Government will help us expand the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup initiative and the deployment of innovative Seabin and LittaTrap technologies that capture and cleanup plastic pollution in our lakes and stormwater systems."

The Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup is the largest single deployment of two innovative technologies in the world, with 26 Seabins and 12 LittaTrap devices installed at marinas to capture and recover plastic debris along the shorelines and prevent the flow of plastic and other debris from entering the lakes. The installation of a Seabin and three LittaTraps at the Toronto Zoo will help to further raise awareness of plastic pollution in waterways.

“Boating Ontario is proud of our Clean Marine Program,” says Rick Layzell, CEO, Boating Ontario Association. “Clean Marine is a complete facilities environmental management Best Practices program that is designed to support and enhance customers, employees and our waterways. The Great Lakes Plastics Cleanup is a slam dunk home run fit to Boating Ontario’s existing commitment. We are appreciative and thankful f

or the Ontario government’s commitment to the program.”

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.

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.



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