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City of Kingston installs ‘seabins’ to clean plastics from Lake Ontario

Two seabins have been installed in Kingston to collect macroplastics and microplastics from local waters. John Lawless/Global News

The City of Kingston has started a new pilot project that aims to clean up the city’s waters in Lake Ontario.

Two ‘seabins’ have been installed — one at Portsmouth Olympic Harbour and another at Confederation Basin.

The two seabins act almost like a floating trash can, skimming the surface of the water.

“It’s incredible, and if you can picture it, it’s a bit like a Roomba on water,” says Amy Gibson, manager of recreation services.

These seabins collect macroplastics and microplastics from the water and keep the plastics trapped so marine staff can take them out.

Read more: Microplastics are in our drinking water, but are of ‘low concern’ for human health, WHO report says

Marine staff will upload the data on what has been collected daily, and an in-depth analysis will be conducted every two to three months by researchers at Queen’s University.

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“While many people appreciate Kingston’s waterfront, pollution continues to be an issue throughout the Great Lakes,” says Gibson.

“Researchers estimate that 10 million kilograms of plastics enter the Great Lakes every year, polluting the lakes and surrounding watersheds, which is something that could cost up to $400 million annually to combat.”

Kingston is one of several municipalities along the Great Lakes to implement this technology, as part of Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup’s Little Bits, Big Problem initiative.

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