This spring two teams took their spring cleaning aspirations and put them into action in a big way. The results? Two MEGA shoreline cleanup events that removed more than 20 tonnes of litter from shorelines.

On March 28, 2015, the Fraser Riverkeepers held their 8th annual cleanup of the Fraser River in Chilliwack. Over 200 volunteers turned out on a chilly day to clean a two kilometre stretch of shoreline and a forested trail network where litter had been dumped in between trees. Unfortunately illegal dumping is a problem in this area that not only makes this stretch of shoreline a site for sore eyes, but affects wildlife and pollutes the waters and natural environment. The Fraser Riverkeepers estimate they have removed over 58 tonnes of trash from the river’s edge over the past eight years.

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup

Illegal dumping is a big problem for this shoreline.

Some of the unusual items found on this year’s cleanup include seats from cars and boats, and large quantities of nails and drywall. In total, the group hauled out 10 tonnes of garbage, including 400 kilograms of metal.

Not to be outdone, the White Rock and Surrey Naturalists, over the course of two cleanup events in March and April, set a target of cleaning up the Nicomekl Riverbank. The tidal river is home to a variety of birds and wildlife, and had accumulated large amounts of debris. Everything from household items to large blocks of Styrofoam, and entire docks that had broken off in disrepair were found on the riverbank.

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup

Huge blocks of stryofoam are a common sight on this shoreline – it took only four hours to fill the dumpster.

The team received amazing support from local business and the City of Surrey, and were donated a dumpster, truck, tent, and even a chainsaw operator to help remove the un-encapsulated Styrofoam from the wooden docks. With their team of just 64 members and volunteers the group worked hard to clear over three kilometres of shoreline.

In total, they were able to remove 1,300 kilograms of Styrofoam, 71 bags of garbage and numerous large objects for a total weight of over 10 tonnes. “It feels wonderful to have been instrumental in removing such a large amount of debris off the riverbank,” says Leona Breckenridge, site coordinator for the Nicomekl cleanup.

Shoreline Cleanup

The Nicomekl River before the cleanup is covered in litter and debris.

Nicomekl - After 1jpg

After the removal of over 10 tonnes of waste.

These two events are part of more than 800 cleanups already registered for The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, presented by Loblaw Companies Limited, a joint initiative of the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre and WWF Canada. These teams and their photos show us that whether you have a few hundred volunteers or just a few dozen, you can make a huge difference in contributing to healthy shorelines.

Sign up for a shoreline cleanup in your neighbourhood today, or become a site coordinator for a location that needs a helping hand. Learn more at: www.shorelinecleanup.ca

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