New documentary sheds light on plastic pollution in Lake Ontario
TORONTO -- A new documentary titled “Shoreline” is shedding light on plastic pollution in Lake Ontario.
Rochelle Byrne, the founder of A Greener Future, documented her 430-kilometer journey on a paddle board collecting waste, mostly plastic along the shoreline of Lake of Ontario from Kingston to Niagara-On-The Lake.
Byrne set off on the journey in July 2020 after the pandemic forced to her to cancel the Love Your Lake program, which consists of more than 100 community shoreline clean-up events she organizes every year through her not-for-profit organization.
“It’s concerning when we can’t maintain the shoreline, there is a lot of litter that accumulates and it’s hazardous for the wildlife,” Byrne said. “So instead we came up with a different way to make an impact.”
Over the course of 18 days, Byrne would collect waste from Lake Ontario on her paddle board while a small crew followed along the shoreline using a GPS tracking device. In total, they collected 41,992 pieces of litter.
“We found mostly plastic and that comes in a lot of forms, food wrappers and containers, a lot of small plastic pellets, debris from construction – some from industry, it’s not just litter,” Byrne said.
Byrne shared videos and pictures of the waste they collected on social media and then decided to produce a 45 minute documentary to help spread further awareness about plastic pollution.
“The problem we have with plastic pollution is far greater than I expected,” Byrne said while noting the lake most polluted near major urban centres. “I really didn’t want to drink the water and that’s very concerning for me because it is our drinking water and I’m not sure if a hundred percent of these containments can get filtered out.”
According to research from Rochester Institute of Technology, more than 22 million pounds of plastic pollution ends up in the Great Lakes.
The documentary will be available for a virtual screening on April 1.
People can chose how much they pay for tickets with all proceeds supporting future shoreline clean-up events A Greener Future is planning to resume in a smaller capacity starting in May.
“A lot of people have no idea that plastic pollution is such a pressing concern. If nobody knows about it, then we really can’t fix it.“