Tracking Trash! You Could Name a GPS-tracked Trash Trip Bottle

Photo credit: Patti Foley

A news release from Georgian Bay Forever

Georgian Bay Forever is Tracking Trash!

Fact: Ten million tons of garbage and pollution enter our Great Lakes every year from various sources including storm sewers, blown trash, and the act of littering.

Fact: This pollution does not include waste from events caused by intense storms such as raw sewage overflows (RSO). RSOs release millions upon millions of raw or partially treated sewage during storm events that spill directly into Georgian Bay and Great Lakes water because of old infrastructure in many coastal municipalities which are still using combined drains.

Fact: Regardless of the entry source of that waste into our water, it can contaminate and potentially destroy water quality for both humans and animals alike.

GPS tracked bottleWhat can we do? What are the sources of that pollution? What is the fate of all that garbage? How does it travel? Where does it accumulate? How do we get it out once it’s in the water?

It is critical to answer these questions in order to help inform policies: policies aimed at upstream solutions and/or locations for technologies that can trap and/or remove waste before it has a chance to harm the water quality of Georgian Bay or flow out of our Bay and into Lakes Huron/Michigan and further downstream, potentially contaminating water and polluting wetlands as it moves.

GBF Bottle AuctionHow do we plan to answer these questions? We will use GPS-tracked bottles deployed from pre-determined locations in order to track the route that waste and pollution may take. The GPS bottles will ping their locations every hour for a week or two. Once the bottles are retrieved, they will be deployed and tracked again. During the off-season, the data will be analyzed considering currents, wind velocity, and the routes outlined as models of trash trips. Once the trash trip models are created, we will have an interactive map on our website, so that interested parties can see the route of the trash trips that the majority of waste is travelling from when starting at certain locations. And as always, we will continue our shoreline cleanups, and deep-dive waste characterizations to learn more about the pollution in our water.

Want to be a part of this unique project in a special way? We are auctioning off, through a silent bidding process, the 20 bottles that will be sent on the trash trips. Send in your bid and the top 20 bidders will get to name their bottles for the project!

Send your bids into BEFORE August 10, 2022 to be entered. 

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