Usually, if you see a bottle floating in a lake, you’d pick it up not just to look for a potential message, but to put it in the recycling bin or garbage. No one likes trash in the water.
But, if you see these orange bottles floating in Lake Ontario, just leave them. They aren’t trash but they are helping a team of researchers at the University of Toronto track trash in the lake.
Founded in 2017, the U of T Trash Team is a science-based community outreach group made up of undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs, researchers, local volunteers and staff. They work together with a common goal to increase waste literacy in our community while reducing plastic pollution in our ecosystems.
This year, they have released 28 GPS-tracked “Blender Bottle” water bottles into the Toronto harbour to track the path of trash that ends up in the waterway. Each bottle has a name, like Celeste, Eastin, Maria, Jack and even John Tory!
The team says they will “follow [the bottles] travels to reveal movement patterns and potential accumulation zones for floating litter. This will allow us to better understand local sources of litter and help inform future placement of trash capture devices (like Seabins) to divert litter from Lake Ontario.”
If you find one of these bottles, feel free to take a photo and share with #TaggingTrash and tag the U of T Trash Team !
Look! Over in the lake! It’s a duck? It’s a buoy? No, it’s a floating #GPS-tracked #plastic bottle! This bright orange bottle is helping us uncover more about the movement of #litter in and around the #Toronto Harbour. Follow along on the #TaggingTrash journey with our map.
— U of T Trash Team (@UofTTrashTeam) May 1, 2021