Each year, over one million people head into the downtown core of Vancouver to take in the spectacular Honda Celebration of Light Festival. As the sun goes down and the fireworks go off, it’s easy to leave behind a cup here, or a cigarette butt there, but each of these small actions has a large impact on our beaches and waterways.
Last year, in the early evening before each firework display, groups of volunteers came down and removed litter from the English Bay Sunset Beach area. Over the course of the three nights these volunteers picked up a total of 25 kilograms of litter, including hundreds of cigarette butts, food wrappers and bottle caps.
This year, the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre and WWF-Canada’s Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup and the Honda Celebration of Light is teaming up to once again to host cleanups every night to raise awareness of the impacts of litter on our beaches. “The problem of shoreline litter and its impact on our aquatic environments is one that only continues to grow, with the majority of the items the result of everyday people,” says Kate Le Souef, manager of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. “In B.C. last year, 27 per cent of all litter items picked up were single use food and beverage items, like plastic bags, bottle caps and disposable cutlery. Another 41 per cent of litter items are from smoking related activities.”
“Every year, thousands of pieces of litter are left on our shorelines after this event,” continues Le Souef. “By having teams of volunteers clean litter items as people are arriving, we hope to remind people that we can all do something to keep our shorelines clean – whether it is joining a shoreline cleanup or just taking their litter home with them.”
Everyone is invited to come down to join us each night to make a difference. Nightly cleanups during the fireworks will begin at 5:30 p.m. and end at 7:30 p.m. Volunteers can meet at Sunset Beach where we’ll provide all the necessary supplies and organize people into groups to collect litter and data. If you can’t make the cleanup, come visit us at Sunset Beach Saturday afternoons for a “trash talk” and participate in the “3-Minute Cleanup Challenge.” All evening cleanup and “3-Minute Cleanup Challenge” participants will be entered into a draw to win tickets for four to the Vancouver Aquarium.
“Human activity is causing the problem, so it’s up to each of us to help,” says Le Souef. Follow the links below to sign up and join us at one night or all three:
The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, presented by Loblaw Companies Limited, is a conservation initiative of the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre and WWF-Canada. It is sponsored by Ricoh Canada nationally, and OLG and YVR provincially.