Notice green paint on Toronto storm drains? There’s a special reason for it, U of T students say

By Lucas Casaletto

If you’re in Toronto and have noticed a storm drain covered in green paint, there is a unique and environmentally-focused reason for it.

Students at the University of Toronto, a collection of them that go by the “U of T Trash Team,” said the green paint means the storm drain is, in fact, an Enviropod “LittaTrap” that collects trash and litter and “diverts it” from draining into Lake Ontario.

Toronto’s waterfront was littered with trash following a late-August rainfall, including tampons and condoms found floating in the harbour near the shore. It led to local environmental groups pointing to the city’s failing and aged sewage and stormwater system.

The U of T Trash Team is a “science-based community outreach group” comprising undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs, researchers, local volunteers and staff.

“[We’re] all working together with a common goal to increase waste literacy in our community while reducing plastic pollution in our ecosystems,” the group says.

Over 80% of marine pollution comes from land: Enviropod

Enviropod, which moved to Canada in 2018, says that after rainfall, stormwater systems carry plastics, trash and sediment into local waterways.

One product currently being used in Toronto and other parts of the world is the LittaTrap, a modular catch basin filter designed for placement inside any catch basin structure to prevent litter and other debris carried by stormwater from entering the storm drain system.

Enviropod says its basin products capture 820 pieces of plastic and litter on average through every unit each year.

“The LittaTrap is a great way for private companies to reach their sustainability goals, and Enviropod looks forward to working with sustainable companies across Canada,” the company notes online.

“[Partnerships] with the University of Toronto have helped us raise awareness of the problem of plastic pollution and encourage usage of the LittaTrap technology to combat the problem.”

The U of T Trash Team is currently working on several “solutions-based researched” environmental projects, including a focus on polystyrene foam and cigarette butts.

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