FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
SEPTEMBER 13TH, 2022
The Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup is thrilled to welcome the Town of Gananoque, Ontario, located on the St. Lawrence River, to its growing network of sites across the Great Lakes and their connecting waters. A Seabin was recently installed at the Gananoque Municipal Marina in collaboration with the town and the Thousand Islands Association (TIA), a local not-for-profit that will support the sorting and classifying of the plastic and other debris removed from the St. Lawrence by the technology.
“We are very pleased and excited to have the Town of Gananoque join the binational Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup as our second location along the international section of the St. Lawrence River near the outflow of Lake Ontario,” says Mark Fisher, President and CEO of the Council of the Great Lakes Region. “This collaboration will allow us to work together to ensure this stunning waterfront community and waterway is free from plastic litter as we also work to forge a future without plastic waste across the broader Great Lakes region.”
Gananoque is known as the Gateway to the Thousand Islands (1000 Islands) in Ontario, offering unique, historic architecture and beautiful, natural landscapes. The town is recognized as one of the most stunning waterfront communities in Eastern Ontario, with access to an archipelago of 1,864 islands that straddle the Canada – U.S. border in the St. Lawrence. The installation of a Seabin as part of the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup is one of the latest efforts by the town in support of their strong commitment to keeping the river and its shoreline clean and free from plastic waste and other litter.
“The Town of Gananoque is excited to partner with the TIA and the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup,” says Doug Wark, Town of Gananoque Manager of Community Services. “It was an easy decision to jump onboard as the program aligns with several of our current Town initiatives to improve our environmental stewardship practices, including our recent certification as a Silver Level Marina under Boating Ontario’s Clean Marine Program. We look forward to collaborating on positive programs like these to ensure our community is doing everything we can to protect our waterways and keep our beautiful waterfront community healthy and vibrant.”
The TIA was founded in 1934 and is supported by hundreds of members in Canada and the U.S. who reside in the region. As part of their mission “to promote river safety, encourage environmental awareness and support the community”, the association is working to protect and preserve the local ecosystem and build a strong environmental presence. The association’s collaboration with the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup will complement its many other efforts to address plastic pollution in the region, including through its Trash Free River Clean-up days and a Fishing Line Recycling Station program.
“We were so pleased to learn about the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup and our Environmental Committee thought it would be an ideal way to inform people – actually show them – that tiny morsels of trash are not only detrimental to our fish and wildlife but that they are very much in our water system,” says Janet Smith-Staples, Thousand Islands Association Board Member and Environmental Co-Chair. “Awareness and education are key and having the Seabin provides both, while getting people talking and taking notice. We are so pleased the Town of Gananoque agreed to provide a place for the Seabin and we would like to thank the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup for making it all possible!”
Gananoque joins other Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup sites in the St. Lawrence in working to divert plastic from its waters. In 2021, data collected by the initiative showed an average of 154 pieces of plastic removed by Seabins from marina locations along the river each day. This important collaborative effort in Gananoque will contribute to increasing this number and ensuring that the St. Lawrence and the broader Great Lakes remain free from plastic pollution for future generations.
“We are pleased to be a part of this clean up initiative, presented to us through this partnership opportunity,” says Lori Higgs, Town of Gananoque Marina and Recreation Coordinator. “We have worked closely with TIA staff to monitor the Seabin and have changed its location several times to ensure we are maximizing our collection of debris from our marina water system. This initiative has definitely had a positive impact on removing garbage and increasing awareness in our community. We look forward to continued initiatives with the TIA, including adding fishing line recycling tunnels to build on our commitment to keep our waterway clean and healthy for our community to enjoy.”
About the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup
The Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup, an initiative of Pollution Probe and the Council of the Great Lakes Region 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. 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.
At the start of the 2022 boating season, the Town of Gananoque received certification under Boating Ontario’s Clean Marine Program as a Silver Level Marina. Early this year, Town Council passed a motion for Town Staff to enact a new Environmental and Recycling Strategy that has been included in the Special Event Policy and permitting system. Through this strategy, the Town is trying to limit the use of single use plastics and direct event organizers to plan their events with use of only biodegradable/compostable cups, plates, straws, tickets, etc.