Traps to catch microfibres and garbage set up at Kingston marinas

Published June 14, 2022 5:20 p.m. ET

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The city of Kingston is using new technology to keep microplastics and other garbage out of Lake Ontario, and it is also using it to better understand what’s polluting the lake.

The city is partnering with the Great Lakes Plastic Clean Up to install what are called “seabins,” says Amy Gibson, the city’s manager of recreation services.

“Think of it as a garbage can; it’s stationary and it collects microfibres, both micro and macro plastics in the water,” she explains. “And filters out anything that may be causing pollution in the Great Lakes.”

Two have been installed at Confederation Basin, and Portsmouth Olympic Harbour.

“It’s incredible, and if you can picture it, it’s a bit like a Roomba on water,” she says.

Researchers estimate that 10 million kilograms of plastics enter the Great Lakes every year, polluting the lakes and surrounding watersheds—something that could cost up to $400 million annually to combat.

Gibson says the garbage that is cleaned out will then be analyzed by Queen’s University researchers several times a year, in hopes of better understanding what is polluting the waterway.

“When we do a deep dive to look at all the items and pieces and particles that have been collected, that will then be used to have a larger analysis to inform policy and those types of things,” she explains.

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