Protecting Georgian Bay’s Water
- "Most of these fibers will travel with wastewater to a WWTP to be treated. Studies suggest that 83–99.9% of microplastics are captured in the sludge of a WWTP (Carr et al., 2016; Dris et al., 2015; Talvitie et al., 2017), with the remaining emitted to the aquatic environment via final effluent. If 99% of the 23 to 36 trillion microfibers are captured in the sludge, then up to 234 to 356 billion could be released directly into lakes and rivers annually based on our data and calculations. If the sludge is land applied, some of the remaining ~23–35.5 trillion could also be released into the environment."3
We all need to do things differently to protect our freshwater - from changing our fashion choices away from synthetic materials and clothes that have a short-life span, to decreasing our frequency of clothing purchase, to reducing the number of washing loads we do, to installing filters on our washing machines.
Georgian Bay Forever (GBF), thanks to our funders and partners, aims to build on the microfibers research and test a filter solution in the field - with real households - in a Parry Sound Field Study we are calling Divert and Capture. When complete, in about 2.5 years, these results will be shared with stakeholders, manufacturers , and the public to influence change in our habits that are currently leading to the build-up of plastic in our freshwater.
What can you do:
1. Buy a filter for your washing machine. There are different filters on the market. It's also important for septics.
Read why at this link.
U of T Rochman lab tested 2 outside washing machine filters. The Lint Luv'r and the Wexco FIltrol 160, and found they were 87 to 89% effective at capturing fibers. Both are available in Canada if you search online (if you buy outside of Canada, you will be subject to fees if you import them). Last time we looked they cost anywhere from $180 to around $220 BEFORE installment and shipping. For the Divert and Capture project, GBF is installing the Filtrol 160 from Wexco into Parry Sound residences for our filter study.