FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
JULY 28TH, 2022
TORONTO, ON – July 28th, 2022 – The Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup (GLPC) — a joint initiative of the Council of the Great Lakes Region and Pollution Probe — is pleased to welcome new collaborators, the City of Kingston and Queen’s University, who have come together to collectively remove plastic from Lake Ontario. Two new Seabins installed at Portsmouth Olympic Harbour Marina and Confederation Basin Marina in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, will join the GLPC’s growing network of innovative plastic capture devices located throughout the Great Lakes Basin and its connecting channels and waterways. Kingston’s Seabins will play an important part in removing plastic debris from the water, while also contributing to the collection of valuable data about plastic pollution in the area and educating residents about what they can do to end plastic waste and litter in the Kingston region.
“We’re thrilled that the City of Kingston and Queen’s University are joining the growing network of Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup partners in Canada and the United States,” said Mark Fisher, President and CEO of the Council of the Great Lakes Region. “Together, we’re ensuring that this globally significant natural resource is kept clean for future generations, while we also work towards building a circular economy where waste is minimized by design and products and materials are reused, remanufactured, refurbished, and recycled.”
Located at the eastern end of Lake Ontario, Kingston is known for its pristine sailing conditions and forward-thinking sustainability planning. The lake holds a special place in the hearts of the local community and the installation of the Seabins is an important step in helping to keep Kingston’s waters free from plastic and other debris, and ensuring the enjoyment of those undertaking recreational activities, including swimming, boating and fishing.
“Lake Ontario holds a special place in the hearts of many Kingstonians,” says Amy Gibson, Manager Recreation Services at the City of Kingston. “Not only does the lake provide us with recreational opportunities, support tourism, provide a home to countless wildlife, and offer one of the best views in the city—it also connects us to communities hundreds of kilometres away, in Canada and across the border. The City of Kingston is proud to partner with the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup and see this initiative as a great opportunity to support our Great Lakes, as we recognize that we all have a responsibility to keep our waterways pollution free”
Academics and academic institutions play a critical role in the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup as they help to build a community of engaged students and local residents, while creating important opportunities for science and environmental stewardship activities. Efforts in Kingston will benefit from a collaboration with Dr. Diane Orihel, Assistant Professor at the School of Environmental Studies, Department of Biology at Queen’s University and Queen’s National Scholar in Aquatic Ecotoxicology. Dr. Orihel and her lab study pollution to find new ways to protect the health of our lakes and wetlands, and she is a principal investigator of the pELAstic Project, a globally unique study that is helping us better understand the fate and effects of microplastic pollution in freshwater ecosystems.
“I am really excited to have two Seabins here in Kingston and to be analyzing the plastic waste in our local waters!” says Dr. Diane Orihel. “This new initiative is an excellent opportunity for Queen’s students to meaningfully engage with our community and do their part to help raise more awareness of plastic pollution.”
The new Seabins in Kingston are part of a number of installations planned in Ontario this season, with the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup also expanding into the U.S. where new plastic capture technologies will be piloted. The data collected through the initiative in 2021 pointed to Lake Ontario having some of the highest numbers of plastic removed by the Seabins, with close to 42,000 pieces reported for the season. Kingston joining the network will allow for more plastic to be removed from the lake, and more data to be collected to better understand the types and sources found locally.
About the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup
The Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup, an initiative of the Council of the Great Lakes Region and Pollution Probe with support from a network of funders and collaborators, is the largest initiative of its kind in the world, using innovative plastic capture technology to remove plastic and other litter from Lake Ontario to Lake Superior and everywhere in between. The initiative is the largest of its kind in the world. Through research, outreach and education, the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup is gathering data on litter entering our waterways and identifying how government, industry, and consumers can work together to reduce, reuse and recycle material waste. To learn more, visit www.greatlakesplasticcleanup.org.