Thunder Bay Spearheads Microplastic Capture Initiative with Provincial Support

Plastic Waste in Waterways
Plastic Waste in Waterways

Innovative environmental project funded by penalties from polluters aims to protect Lake Superior

THUNDER BAY — EcoSuperior Environmental Programs, in partnership with the City of Thunder Bay, is set to lead a groundbreaking project to mitigate plastic pollution in local waterways and Lake Superior, backed by a $45,000 grant from the Ontario government. This initiative is part of the broader Ontario Community Environment Fund, which reallocates environmental fines to fund local conservation efforts.

“Our government’s support for EcoSuperior’s project to divert microplastics from our waterways is an important commitment to the region. Funding from the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks through their Ontario Community Environment Fund contributes to safeguarding clean water for generations to come.”- Kevin Holland, MPP for Thunder Bay–Atikokan

Project Details: EcoSuperior will deploy advanced LittaTraps in storm drains throughout Thunder Bay. These filters are specifically designed to capture microplastics—tiny plastic fragments that are detrimental to aquatic ecosystems and the wildlife that depend on them. Target areas for these installations include city parks, waterfronts, and parking lots, identified as key points where plastic pollution accumulates.

Community Impact and Goals: “The Ontario Community Environment Fund harnesses the expertise and passion of local entities to address pollution impacts effectively within their communities,” remarked Andrea Khanjin, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. The project not only focuses on trapping debris but also on educational efforts to increase public awareness and engagement regarding waste reduction.

Erin Moir, Co-Executive Director of EcoSuperior, emphasized the project’s alignment with their mission of fostering a healthier future for people and the planet. “This support enables us to continue significant work towards reducing litter in our waterways and ultimately preserving the integrity of Lake Superior,” Moir stated.

Future Actions and Reporting: Upon completion of the installation phase, EcoSuperior will compile a detailed report for the City of Thunder Bay to inform future strategies for managing plastic waste. Potential measures could include more frequent trash cleanups, enhanced waste management infrastructure, and targeted educational campaigns. Moreover, EcoSuperior plans to contribute its findings to the International Trash Trapping Network, aiding the global effort against plastic pollution.

Funding and Support: This year, the Ontario Community Environment Fund is directing nearly $1.5 million into various projects like this one, which include shoreline cleanups, habitat restoration, and tree planting. “Our government’s backing of EcoSuperior’s initiative marks a vital commitment to safeguarding our water for future generations,” commented Kevin Holland, MPP for Thunder Bay–Atikokan.

Mayor Ken Boshcoff also highlighted the project’s significance for the community. “It’s our duty to protect Lake Superior and our surrounding waterways. This project will play a crucial role in tackling the issue of plastic pollution that threatens these vital resources,” he said.

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