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On September 16th, we celebrated International Coastal Cleanup Day with hundreds of volunteers on shorelines across the country. Each year, International Coastal Cleanup Day brings together individuals and organizations from around the world, with the goal of raising awareness about plastic pollution and stopping the leak of litter into our ocean.  

Celebrating International Coastal Cleanup Day in Toronto 

In Toronto, we hosted a shoreline festival at Woodbine Beach Park. Over 200 volunteers brought tons of energy and joined Ocean Wise at this exciting event. The day began with a Shoreline Cleanup, where over 150 lbs of trash were collected! It’s always a satisfying feeling to directly prevent litter from entering the waterway, whether you’re a first-time cleanup volunteer or a seasoned pro. Spirits were high, and once participants returned to the festival grounds from the shoreline, they were welcomed back with live music from local musicians.  

Participants were also encouraged to visit the on-site food trucks for tasty treats, and booths hosting games and giveaways from our sponsors. We want to give a special thanks to our engaged Shoreline Cleanup sponsors: Presenting Sponsor Loblaw Companies Limited, National Sponsor O’Neill Canada, Travel Sponsor Air Canada, and International Coastal Cleanup Day Major Sponsors Belmar Consulting and UPS Canada for helping to make this event such a success. It truly was exciting to see folks of all ages out on the shoreline, making a difference by keeping the waterways clean and having a blast while doing it! 

Ditching the Dirty Dozen 

Just over a week ago, the annual Dirty Dozen was released. This list comprises of the 12 most frequently found items based on citizen science data collected from Shoreline Cleanups across the country. Cigarette butts topped the list once again, representing a significant 1/3 of all litter found during Shoreline Cleanups in 2022. And – no surprise – they were certainly found in abundance on shorelines during International Coastal Cleanup Day. One volunteer (Ocean Bridge’s Manager of Alumni Engagement, Frankie Marquez) collected 1,123 butts in under an hour at Vancouver’s Sunset Beach Park. 

Celebrating International Coastal Cleanup Day in Vancouver 

In addition to all of those cigarette butts, there were some notable finds on at Sunset Beach Park during the Vancouver cleanup, including parts of a bike, a teeth mold and two wheels. In total 191 lbs of litter were collected by community members and Youth to Sea participants in just a few hours. It was a beautiful day, with lots of folks enjoying the beach stopping by to learn more and take part – always something we encourage if you see our flags and tent on the shoreline! 

We want to thank everyone who took action and joined us on a shoreline for International Coastal Cleanup Day, whether in Toronto, Vancouver or another location! Together, we can make a difference. 

For more photos from the events, click here!

Posted September 26, 2023 by Cayley Elcombe

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