Dear Editor:

We are concerned members of the Windermere Lake community and have taken notice of the shoreline pollution caused by polystyrene (styrofoam) dock systems in some of the waterfront communities as well as some private docks.

A completely avoidable source of water quality degradation in this lake comes from these un-encapsulated polystyrene foam flotation devices that, when exposed to the natural elements, break down into tiny pieces (macroplastics and microplastics) that float in the lake and wash ashore, releasing chemicals such as styrene and benzene into the water during the process. 

This should be of great concern to anyone who enjoys Lake Windermere, not only because it impacts aquatic life but also humans, as the docks use polystyrene foam, containing the chemical styrene, thought to be a carcinogen and neurotoxin to human health. The impact this hazardous floatation system has on the health of humans can be very dangerous, seeing as the docks are close to beaches, where people swim, and often ingest water as a consequence. This is the case with Trethewey Beach Society docks near Trethewey beach, and the Invermere Bay Condos which are quite close to Kinsman Beach, a highly populated swimming spot for the town of Invermere.

Unfortunately, aquatic life is extremely susceptible to these macro and microplastics as well, having a hard time differentiating between the styrofoam and their food.

In addition, our dogs are drinking water from the shoreline, which has been contaminated with all the tiny pieces of pollutants gathering onshore, releasing chemicals into the water. 

The yearly accumulation of these macro and microplastics increases as the docks age and fall apart, leaching more chemicals, and pollution into the lake. 

My sister and I have noticed an alarming amount of these outdated dock systems on the lake, and so we are reaching out for assistance in hopes of getting these docks out of the water as quickly as possible and preventing any further dock systems like this from being put in. We understand that there is a cost to switching to more eco-friendly dock systems, but we believe that this is a necessary cost for ensuring the quality of the lake, the natural ecosystem that depends on it and all who seek to enjoy it.

Isabella and Sophia Friesen, Windermere