Seeing the amount of litter on shorelines can have an impact on those who take part in a Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. After doing one cleanup event, many volunteers want to do something more to help. So, what do you do after your cleanup event is over?

This month we highlight site coordinators who show us how they have taken extra steps in protecting their local shoreline.

Peter Williams

Cleanup Site: Bow River at Shouldice Athletic Park and Silverthorn Park, A.B.

Why do you take part in the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup?

It gives me an opportunity to show the community how cleaning up is not an unusual act and that not everybody litters “because everyone else does it.” Rather, cleaning up our waterways is a responsible, caring act that indirectly cleans the oceans and unifies a community. Cleaning up is so easy!

Rain or shine, I take every opportunity to continue cleaning. My resolve has been re-enforced ever since I saw five ducks returning to feed on a stretch of shoreline I had been cleaning. This was three weeks into a four week clean and it was the first time I’d seen ducks return to that particular area to eat.

What extra steps will you take to keep our shorelines clean?

What extra steps will you take to keep our shorelines clean?

How long have you been involved in the program?

In 1987 I participated in Calgary’s annual Bow River Cleanup with a small diving group. We coordinated with paddlers and their canoes to haul away what we found. One common item all divers found was aerosol cans. Years later, I concluded that the most effective solution to ocean and river cleanups is to stop the garbage from entering the waters to begin with. So, during the summer of 2015 I got involved in the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.

What steps have you taken to protect your shoreline?

For 30 consecutive days this summer I cleaned along the shoreline of the Bow River. In total I collected almost 150 kilograms of litter. I also succeeded in passing the combined totals of cigarette butts collected in the Alberta Shoreline Cleanups of 2014, and collected 24,118 butts in those 30 days.

Cigarette butts are the most common litter item found on shoreline cleanups.

Cigarette butts are the most common litter item found on shoreline cleanups.

What’s the strangest item you found?

Ten kilograms of a black blob (might have been roof or road tar) and about 90 bright-blue plastic shredded sheets that probably came from a surfboard.

Shoreline Cleanups can lead to greater results towards the ongoing health of shorelines. Register a shoreline cleanup in the New Year and support your local environment; registration opens March 2016 at shorelinecleanup.ca. Stay tuned later this month when we highlight another Site Coordinator who is taking extra steps to protect their shoreline.

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is a joint conservation initiative of the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre and WWF-Canada, presented by Loblaw Companies Limited and supported by Ricoh Canada. You can take a stand against shoreline litter in your community by signing up for a cleanup in your neighbourhood today.

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