E-News Spring 2021

Welcome to Pollution Probe’s Spring 2021 e-newsletter!

With summer just around the corner, Pollution Probe has been hard at work! The Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup initiative is in the news and making waves, we’ve released the report from our first-ever entirely virtual Gala and Conference, and our Energy, Transportation and Clean Water teams have been busy on a whole slate of exciting projects. Read on for more details…

Gala Conference

Pollution Probe’s 2020 Gala was unlike any we’ve ever done – held entirely online and free to attend, we devoted the afternoon to a discussion of how we, as a community dedicated to the protection of the environment, can work together to ensure that equity and social justice become fundamental elements of sustainable development. 

For those who were unable to attend, or who would like to revisit the finer points of the panel discussions with our special guests, we have released our 2020 Gala Report.

Click the image at right to read it!

Circular Economy + Plastics

The Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup is a first-of-its kind initiative, spearheaded by Pollution Probe and the Council of the Great Lakes Region (CGLR) along with a diverse and dedicated group of partners. This spring, the initiative moves into its second year, and we’re looking forward to expanding our network of marina partners and supporters.

We’ve loaded up the official project website with tons of brand-new content – you can learn about the plastic pollution problem, find out about the different varieties of plastic that can be found in the Great Lakes, trace the sources and pathways of plastic into the natural environment and take a look at the data we’ve gathered so far.

You can also read the detailed Year 1 report  with all the information, facts and figures from the last 12 months.

Click the report cover at right to access the PDF version! 

Little Bits, Big Problems

To mark the beginning of the 2021 boating season and the start of Year 2 of the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup, the initiative has launched a new PSA: ‘Little Bits, Big Problems.

Aimed at raising awareness about plastic pollution as well as the actions being undertaken by the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup to tackle the issue, the PSA has been featured on both local and national news – find the complete list of media coverage here

Learn more and sign up for news and updates at the official Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup website!


The Innovation Sandboxes project, a collaboration between Pollution Probe and QUEST, is an ambitious four-year project to encourage and enable the innovation needed to meet our low-carbon targets through the use of Innovation Sandboxes in jurisdictions across Canada.

With two research reports already out, the Sandboxes project moved into its next phase this spring: a series of national and jurisdictional workshops with diverse stakeholders to recruit and work with the numerous provinces and territories interested in implementing tailored Innovation Sandboxes. The COVID-19 pandemic has made our workshops virtual by necessity, but we’ve been thrilled at the level of interest and participation we’ve seen! The ability to attend a workshop from home has allowed people who might not have been able to participate otherwise to join us, and we’re grateful for this unexpected silver lining in a very difficult and challenging time.  

Learn more and sign up for news and updates at the official project website!


A key goal of Pollution Probe’s Transportation program is to break down barriers to the widespread use of Zero-Emission Vehicles (ZEVs). This year, thanks to support from National Resources Canada, we launched the Municipal ZEV Engagement Platform, an online portal for municipal governments and their collaborators to share resources, establish an ongoing dialogue surrounding Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs) and collaborate on solutions that will ultimately increase the number of ZEVs on Canadian roads. 

The Platform is comprised of a members-only Forum as well as a Resources section that is accessible to all. Find it here!


In 2019, Pollution Probe released a report on an issue of emerging concern: pharmaceuticals in the Great Lakes. This report found that there is a lack of systemic sampling, reporting and publicly accessible information on the presence and impacts of pharmaceuticals. Citizen science initiatives have become valuable and effective ways of filling such gaps in existing science and research programs. In our latest pharmaceuticals report, we further examine the role citizen science can play in addressing the pharmaceutical pollution problem in the Great Lakes. 

Along with the main report, we have released several additional resources: a brief Guide to Citizen Science in the Great Lakes, a Case Study on Determining an Indicator for Pharmaceutical Presence in the Great Lakes and a short, animated video on the importance of citizen science. Find them all here!

Welcoming New Board Members!

We’re delighted to welcome Dr. Karine Rashkovsky and Parminder Sandhu to our Board of Directors! They join Michael Brophy and Natasha Arsenijevich as the newest members of the Board.

Find out more about our Board of directors here!