Great Lakes
Plastic litter at Lake Huron beach. Cigarette butts, a plastic jar, packaging, mesh and other plastic items all found within a five foot circle steps from the waste receptacles. Lori Thompson / SooToday.com

Great Lakes - Cigarette Butts, Microfibers are Most Common Plastics Found in Lake Huron, Shorelines

Coastal stewardship co-ordinator for the Great Lakes says that we have a higher density of plastic pollution in the Great Lakes than in many oceanic gyres.

Almost 4,700 kilotonnes of plastics are introduced into the Canadian market annually.

That’s more than 125 kg per capita. Only nine per cent of plastic waste is recycled and 86 per cent ends up as waste in our landfills, according to a report prepared for Environment and Climate Change Canada by Deloitte LLP. A lot of that plastic waste ends up in our lakes and on our shorelines.

“We actually have a higher density of plastic pollution in the Great Lakes than is found in many of the oceanic gyres (the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, for example),” according to Hannah Cann, coastal stewardship co-ordinator for the Lake Huron Coastal Conservation Centre (LHCCC).

“There’s some pretty interesting statistics and the numbers are quite shocking,” she said. “A single load of laundry can release thousands of microfibers which then can end up in Lake Huron.”

“There are many studies now on microplastics which are very, very small manmade fibers, basically lint that comes out of your washing machine, all the way up to 2.5 cm in size and then you get to mega plastic that are very large, like some of the large pieces of foam we’ve found in the Georgian Bay area.”

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