Nearly 100,000 pieces of plastic removed from Port of Toronto

The team behind Toronto’s Trash Trapping Program Network say they removed nearly 100,000 small pieces of plastic from the city’s harbor last year.

PortsToronto, in conjunction with the so-called ‘Trash Team’ at the University of Toronto, said it detected 92,891 spills between May and September through the use of 10 Seabins – which are positioned near the surface of the water and suck the waste into a collection bag using a pump.

“Seven scientists from the U of T Trash team worked daily throughout the summer to clear PortsToronto Seabins and to quantify and characterize what we diverted from Lake Ontario,” said Dr. Chelsea Rochman, Manager of the operations of the U of T Trash team. , in a message published on Wednesday.

In addition to the Seabins, the program also removed thousands of pieces of trash using a device called LittaTrap, which was placed in storm drains throughout the Queens Quay area, and siphoned surface water into the port to divert a total of 96,208 pieces of waste. between the three methods.

By weight, the program removed 118.15 kilograms of anthropogenic (derived from human activity) debris and microplastics, which PortsToronto says can harm wildlife and contaminate drinking water.

A Seabin can be seen in this undated photo.

The top 10 large pieces of debris captured in 2022 include:

  1. plastic film
  2. pieces of plastic
  3. cigarette butts
  4. mousse
  5. food packaging
  6. Plastic bottle caps
  7. Paper
  8. plastic cigar holder
  9. plastic bags
  10. plastic bottle

Additionally, for the first time in the program’s four years, dozens of “fatbergies,” which PortsToronto describes as “rock masses” formed by the combination of fat, grease and sewage material, including wet wipes and diapers, were found.

“In 2022, PortsToronto Seabins collected over 100 fatbergs, a powerful reminder to city residents to think carefully about what is being lost,” the group said.

RJ Steenstra, president and CEO of PortsToronto, said he was “encouraged” by the program’s progress to date amid rising plastic pollution, which he said “poses a serious threat to the sustainability and biodiversity of the city’s lakes and waterways”.

“[We] I look forward to continuing to learn from the litter collected by scavengers like Seabins here at home and around the world as part of the International Litter Trap Network to educate, change behaviors and ultimately preserve our waterways for generations. future,” Steenstra said.

To read the full 2022 report, click here.


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