International Joint Commission (IJC)
More than a century of cooperation protecting shared waters

Prevention of microplastic pollution entering the Great Lakes

 

The International Joint Commission (IJC) invited public comment on its Preliminary Recommendations on Microplastics in the Great Lakes for binational, science, policy, and education solutions to microplastic pollution.

The Commission was interested in public comments on the following questions:

  1. Are the recommendations sound?
  2. Are any important considerations overlooked?
  3. Are there relevant examples from your community or business to consider?

Members of the public were invited to provide comments online or by email at Commission@ottawa.ijc.org or Commission@washington.ijc.org until November 10, 2016.

Resources

Thank you for your comments. The comment period is now closed.

Submit a Comment
 
 
Alliance for the Great Lakes 18th November 2016 14:23:43
NY, Buffalo,
Form letter received from over 900 people: Dear Commissioners, Thank you for releasing your preliminary recommendations to the governments of Canada and the United States on the issue of microplastics in the Great Lakes. And thank you for inviting public comment. The Alliance for the Great Lakes' Adopt-a-Beach volunteers spend thousands of hours each year removing trash, litter, and other marine debris from the lakes' shorelines. Unfortunately, microplastics in the lakes and their tributaries are too small to be collected. This is why I think it's important to have a binational plan to reduce microplastics in the Great Lakes. For this plan to be successful, I encourage you to consider the following suggestions in your preliminary recommendations: - Make a goal of reducing microplastics - not just managing them - in the Great Lakes. Existing plans such as NOAA's Great Lakes Marine Debris Action Plan and EPA's Trash Free Waters Program have goals of reducing trash entering our waterways, even advocating for zero loadings of trash into coastal watersheds and ecosystems within 10 years. The IJC's preliminary recommendations should make this level of commitment on a binational scale. - Broaden involvement in the plan's creation and implementation by engaging and educating multiple audiences - including consumers and associated industries such as retail, restaurant, hospitality and food and beverage - along with the government, nonprofit, and plastic industry audiences that are currently represented. By providing multiple perspectives on how best to reduce the use and consumption of single use plastics items, the plan will create more innovative and effective solutions. - Support citizen science and community-led educational and outreach programs that contribute to ongoing research and engage community members in local solutions to the microplastics problem. By creating an exchange of ideas between researchers, government agencies and communities, a deeper level of education will occur, potentially spurring new, creative solutions. Thank you again for the opportunity to submit comments, and for your commitment to reducing microplastics in the Great Lakes. Your preliminary recommendations are an important first step in collaborating across borders to address this growing issue.
Scott D. Dyer, The Procter & Gamble Company 15th November 2016 15:02:13
OH, Mason,
Document attached.
The American Chemistry Council'€™s 14th November 2016 11:51:40
DC, Washington,
The American Chemistry Council's (ACC) Plastics Division appreciates the opportunity to review and comment on the Commission's Preliminary recommendations on Microplastics in the Great Lakes. The Plastics Division of ACC is supported by sixteen global companies that produce various types of plastic resin. As a signatory to the Declaration of the Global Plastics Associations for Solutions on Marine Litter1, ACC has supported research and projects to reduce marine debris within and outside of the United States. We agree that plastic litter is not acceptable and does not belong in the marine environment or the Great Lakes.
Council of Great Lakes Industries 14th November 2016 10:46:24
Michigan, Ann Arbor,
Our comments on the IJC’s Preliminary Recommendations regarding Microplastics in the Great Lakes. Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this important collaboration.
Alliance for the Great Lakes and other organizations 10th November 2016 17:05:10
NY, Buffalo,
Please see the attached comments on the IJC's preliminary recommendations to the Parties on microplastics from Alliance for the Great Lakes, Environmental Defence (Canada), EcoSuperior Environmental Programs, Freshwater Future, Freshwater Future Canada, and Lake Ontario Waterkeeper. Thank you for the opportunity to submit comments and we look forward to continuing to work together to solve this important environmental challenge to the Great Lakes.
Clean Ocean Action 10th November 2016 17:03:00
NJ, Highlands,
Clean Ocean Action submits the following recommendations on the International Joint Commission’s Preliminary Recommendations on Microplastics in the Great Lakes, contained in the attached PDF document.
Northeast-Midwest Institute 10th November 2016 17:00:12
DC, Washington,
The Northeast-Midwest Institute (NEMWI) supports the work done by the International Joint Commission (IJC) to address the issue of microplastics pollution in the Great Lakes. NEMWI supports all of the preliminary recommendations made in the document “Preliminary International Joint Commission Recommendations on Microplastics in the Great Lakes.” NEMWI staff also believe that the preliminary recommendations on microplastics in the Great Lakes should be considered for application to other chemicals that have a significant negative impact on the Great Lakes system.
Freya Nales 10th November 2016 16:13:18
Ontario, Ottawa,
Thank you for the opportunity to submit comments. Please find attached my comments on: * A Clear Definition of Microplastics; * Sea-based Sources of Microplastic Pollution * Impacts of Microplastics on Human Health * Polices and Programs Outside of North America
Alexander Cassidy 10th November 2016 13:54:17
Ontario, Peterborough,
To whom it may concern, My name is Alex and I am an environmental studies student at Trent University undertaking a project on sources of plastic contamination in the Great Lakes. Studies that have focused on the immediate shorelines of the Great Lakes such as beach cleanup surveys have concluded that plastic in the form of recreational litter is a major problem on beaches and other shoreline areas. However, there seems to be a lack of studies done on sources of plastic contamination further up the watershed, which is likely also a significant contributor to plastic contamination in the Great Lakes. I have decided to steer my project in this direction and have been recording the types of plastic debris found along different sections of an urban river in my area that drains into a major lake. I have noticed the majority of plastics I’ve found to be similar to the recreational litter found in beach surveys (plastic bottles, cigarette butts, food wrappers etc.). This type of litter tended to be concentrated in areas where walking trails came close to the water, and often occurred in large quantities. Some of the areas I sampled were unofficial clearings near the water’s edge that were likely used for fishing or adolescent hangout spots, and often had the most plastic debris. Other littered sites were parts of parks and recreational trails where the trail or boardwalk was very close to the water’s edge. I believe an effective way of alleviating this source of plastic contamination would be to partner with municipalities to strategically place garbage cans and recycling bins in areas where public trails come close to the river’s edge. Regarding unofficial trails and clearings near the water’s edge, I believe volunteer plantings of riparian tree and shrub species would be an effective step in reducing plastic contamination, as it would make these areas less attractive for recreational use, as well as stabilizing the shoreline by re-establishing a vegetative buffer where the clearing currently exists. Thank you for the opportunity to comment.
Toronto Urban Fishing Ambassador 10th November 2016 13:38:13
Ontario, Toronto,
Toronto Urban Fishing Ambassador members are concerned with microbeads and microplastics entering Lake Ontario and its rivers in the GTA during high precipitation events. Through 80 Combined Sewer Overflow discharges and bypasses of the Waste Water Treatment Plants full entry of all microplastics in our city's sewage occurs during high precipitation events. Toronto Urban Fishing Ambassador members are concerned about the fisheries health from the threat of microplastics. We are very concerned about consuming fish that have eaten microplastics and the effect it may have on our health and that of our families. We do not feel that enough research has been done in the Great Lakes Region with regards to fish consumption and microplastics. We the public feel uninformed about the health risks of consuming fish that contain microplastics. We submit these articles to support our outlined concerns. https://www.aaas.org/news/science-microplastics-alter-hatching-growth-and-feeding-european-perch http://www.ecowatch.com/are-microplastics-in-your-salmon-filet-1882083719.html Plastics that exist in our Great Lakes now will be water quality issues that persist long into the future. The public needs to know are fish containing microplastics safe to eat? We fear that at this point in time even the members of the science community do not have the research to answer that question.
Linda Heron 10th November 2016 12:39:56
Ontario, Worthington,
The Ontario Rivers Alliance is in full agreement with the Preliminary International Joint Commission Recommendations on Microplastics in the Great Lakes. Thank you for this opportunity to comment!
Artem Zaloga 10th November 2016 12:26:37
ON, Toronto,
The recommendations appear sound, but also lacking in approaches to dealing with microplastics that are already present in the Great Lakes system. I do realize that the topic is on 'prevention' of microplastics entering into the system, but nonetheless I feel it is imperative to develop some remediation suggestions to help deal with the microplastics already present, and since there will likely still be microplastics entering into the system over time. I do not claim to be an expert by any means, but the approach of filtration along side with mycoremediation (using fungi, which are natural decomposers of long carbon chain molecules) techniques seems to be a logical one. If more specific suggestions are required, then please don't hesitate to get in contact. Thank you.
New York State Water Resources Institute 10th November 2016 10:42:49
NY, Ithaca,
Please see attached.
Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup 9th November 2016 17:23:01
BC, Vancouver,
On behalf of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, we’d like to thank you for the opportunity to provide feedback on the topic of microplastics within the Great Lakes basin. Please find the attached comments.
leora 7th November 2016 23:19:45
ontario, toronto,
2018 is not soon enough. URGENT ACTION IS NEEDED NOW to awaken the public to the dangers of fossil fuel driven economies of which micro-beads, micro-plastics and all forms of plastic are derived. Why doesn't the IJC work harder to make sure that the lakes are safe from these threats which are proven to be deadly for migratory fish, native species, and water quality? Why isn't there a more aggressive campaign to educate citizens and ban the toxic materials sooner?
David Dooley 7th November 2016 13:50:46
Alberta, St Albert,
Please find attached document
Mary Harmer 7th November 2016 12:51:36
Ontario, Toronto,
To reduce the amount of plastics in the environment we need to reduce the amount we are producing, consuming, and disposing. This means getting the plastics out of our consumer products, educating the public and businesses to use and purchase products that are not harmful and increasing penalties for those who pollute our waters. Thank you.
Emery 7th November 2016 12:45:49
Ontario, Toronto,
The only micro plastic product I used to make some use of has been replaced by an exfoliating mitt. I have been made aware that certain fish ie perch have become for the most part scarce in areas where they did in the past - Hold good numbers. I am hoping that there will be a complete ban in all entirety within the regards of microplastics being added into every day products - For me mid 2018 seems to be much too late (and) it would be nice to see if it is feasible to ban them in absolute entirety. We need much better production standards dealing with the creation of paper products to building materials right down to to textiles and everything In Between!
Mike Austin 7th November 2016 11:33:51
Ontario, ETOBICOKE,
Please accept these few words as my notification of great concern. Between surfing and stand up paddling on Lake Ontario, Erie, Huron / Georgian Bay, I am alarmed of the amount of plastics I see. In my area of Humber Bay on Lake Ontario alone, I am picking up plastics of all sizes on a daily basis in the same spots. It is very frustrating to see such a precious natural resource treated as a trash can. It is with great hope and trust in my governments, and along with all our "our" tax money, that there will be stringent "policed" laws in put in place to help protect all of the great lakes for generations to come. Attached are a few pictures of what was cleaned out of the Mimico Creek in Etobicoke on Lake Ontario just yesterday. -The Great Lakes form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth, containing 21% of the world's surface fresh water by volume.
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper 6th November 2016 19:50:40
Ontario, Toronto,
Please find attached Lake Ontario Waterkeeper's comments. Thank you for the opportunity to comment.
Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission 3rd November 2016 14:47:22
Wisconsin, Odanah,
Please find attached comments from the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission on the IJC's Preliminary Recommendations on Microplastics in the Great Lakes. Thank you for the opportunity to comment.
Megan and Douglas Roberts 2nd November 2016 19:01:34
Ontario, Waterloo,
Please work to protect the integrity of the Great Lakes ecosystem and to prevent all forms of plastics from entering it.
Robert Soto 27th October 2016 21:53:42
CA, La Quinta,
Please take measures of action to prevent microplastic pollution from entering the Great Lakes.
Sam Denhaan 27th October 2016 18:12:14
Alberta, Red Deer ,
Keep plastics out of the lakes and rivers.
Bonnie Denhaan 27th October 2016 17:26:52
AB, Red Deer,
Micro plastic is a menace in our oceans already. In the Great Lakes it is a disaster. There is no way we can ban plastics in today's world - but there are ways to creatively minimize its use. This is tied too closely to Big Oil output to be easily dealt with. Strong actions by Government must be enacted ASAP to control the situation. Education for the population is obviously crucial. We can and must do better.