Toronto's laneways can be a significant contributor to the rubbish found in The Great Lakes
With most of the blame for plastic and other gross pollutants ending up in the Great Lakes placed on both large corporations and municipalities, this case study set out to see if residential areas are also a significant contributor to the problem and to determine how significant the laneway pollution problem is.
In order to determine the extent of the laneway problem, Enviropod installed a single catch basin into an alleyway on Logan Avenue in Toronto over a two month period from January to March.
The laneway on Logan Avenue was chosen as it sits directly outside a shared office space at District 28. The District 28 workspace is home to many office spaces and includes a bistro and entertainment facilities. The variety of people utilizing the space makes the location an ideal as it is not limited to any one specific activity or demographic.
At the end of the two month period the LittaTrap was manually lifted from the site, and the contents emptied and analysed to determine both the extent of the problem and the effectiveness of the LittaTrap.
In total, 217 pieces of rubbish were caught by the LittaTrap. The 217 pieces of rubbish entailed a combination of soft plastics (19 pieces), hard plastics (7 pieces), plastic utensils (1 piece), chewing gum (2 pieces), cigarettes (20 pieces), large polystyrene (160 pieces) and aluminium cans (2 pieces).
What the Data shows us
Judging by the number of gross pollutants, the LittaTrap caught and the adverse environmental impacts those substances are having, laneways can be seen to be a significant contributor to the plastic pollution problem. It is important to remember that this data is retrieved from a single laneway. The map below outlines every alleyway across Toronto, thus highlighting the seriousness of the problem.