GBF Winter 2022 Newsletter

22,309 PIECES OF LITTER DIVERTED FROM GEORGIAN BAY IN 2021 By Nicole Dimond and Brooke Harrison, Georgian Bay Forever Project Coordinators Plastic pollution in our waterways is unsightly, harmful to animals and has the potential to leak chemicals into the water. Pollution enters our waterways through a variety of channels including: littering, blowing out of our bins on pickup days, through our stormwater drainage systems, through our wastewater in the form of microplastics, and more. The Rochester Institute of Technology estimates that 10,000,000 kilograms of plastic pollution enter the Great Lakes every year. Thanks to you, two of our programs diverted more than 470 kilograms and 22,309 pieces of litter from Georgian Bay, of which 90% was made or contained plastic parts. • In the GBF Diversion 2.0 project, 41 waste characterizations were completed by GBF staff and volunteers on our partners trashcapturing Seabins and Gutter Bins. A waste characterization includes the emptying of these devices, rinsing and then sorting debris to identify the large (greater than 3 cm) debris and small debris (smaller than 3 cm and greater than 2 mm). This valuable information was sent to the International Trash Trap Network, created by Ocean Conservancy and the University of Toronto Trash Team, to create an international database of litter captured by trash-trapping technologies. We estimate that greater than 252 kilograms of debris was removed by the Seabins and Gutters Bin in 2021. Learn more about GBF’s Diversion 2.0 project visit • As part of our Divert and Capture project, we worked with volunteers to complete 26 shoreline cleanups across Georgian Bay, with a focus in Collingwood. Using our trash tally sheet, we conducted waste characterizations to get a count of 19,688 litter pieces. With help from 185 dedicated volunteers, we were able to remove 465.25 kilograms of litter covering approximately 37.1 kilometers of Georgian Bay shoreline. Why is it important to know what the litter is? GBF keeps detailed records of shoreline cleanups and waste characterizations for reporting to funders and the public, educating about the pollution problem on Georgian Bay and for planning future projects that reduce pollution at source and protect Georgian Bay. We have seen this data work positively in the past, for example by supporting the passage of Bill 228, Keeping Polystyrene Out of Ontario's Lakes and Rivers Act, 2021 that bans future unencapsulated dock foam. In the chart we have compiled the top 5 types of litter collected this summer by count. Cigarette butts were the number one item collected at 6,002 butts! When cigarette butts sit in water, they leach an assortment of toxins that threaten our freshwater environments. GBF will continue to remove cigarette butts from the environment with shoreline cleanups, trash trapping devices and look for new ways to reduce cigarette butt pollution. Please help us by encouraging others to dispose of cigarette butts properly. Top 5 Litter Types Collected During 2021 Shoreline Cleanups and Trash Trapping Device Waste Characterizations on Georgian Bay. Gutter Bin (street view) and Seabin. Photos courtesy of Frog Creek Partners and WPS America Thank you to all the volunteers and partners that helped us remove pollution from Georgian Bay and our donors that helped make this work in 2021 possible! In 2022, you can help by emailing about shoreline cleanup opportunities and to find out if there is a trash capturing device in your area to assist in waste characterization. Litter picked up by GBF Students and Rotary Club Volunteers. See 2 min video at Pieces of Litter 7000 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 Cigarette Butts Plastic Fragments Foam Pieces Food & beverage take-out containers Pieces of paper & receipts 6002 4783 4640 2911 1237 0 GBF.ORG | WINTER 2022 | 9