In 1994 a group of Vancouver Aquarium employees gathered to collect litter from a local beach in Stanley Park, collecting data on what they found. As awareness of this issue has grown more and more organisations have partnered with Vancouver Aquarium to coordinate clean ups at over 1,000 sites around Canada.
In 2009 the event attracted nearly 60,000 volunteers around Canada shorelines. Some of the most interesting things found were 367,010 cigarettes and filters, 74,276 plastic bags and 38,702 drink cans; not to mention a wedding dress, a Star Wars light sabre and a message in a bottle with a note saying: “Please don’t litter”.
Saturday, 18th September marked 2010's Great Canadian Shoreline Clean-up. Toronto's main gathering at Woodbine Beach brought together particpants from the local area. The event was coordinated by WWF Canada, who became a full partner this year. Armed with bags and gloves, teams headed in evey direction collecting and sorting general rubbish from recyclables. After just two hours rubbish once scattered across Woodbine Beach was neatly piled up ready to be weighed, catalogued and removed.
The teams returned for a group lunch where awards were given for participation. The WWF Panda was even there to encourage and thank the younger members of the clean up and remind everyone that protecting our shorelines requires constant attention from everyone.
This is just another example of how after only a couple of hours donated by passionate volunteers around Canada can help to make a massive difference and ensure the wellbeing of the country's shorelines and their precious ecosystems.
For the latest information, please visit http://shorelinecleanup.ca/ and http://www.wwf.ca/
written by Adam Barralet and Jonathan Mozingo