Vancouver, B.C. – An army of passionate volunteers descended on shorelines across the country today to mark International Coastal Cleanup day and celebrate the 25th anniversary of the community-led Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. Shoreline Cleanup is a partnership of Ocean Wise® and World Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF-Canada) and is presented by Loblaw Companies Limited and Coca-Cola Ltd. Events took place across the country, and volunteers turned up in Richmond, B.C., Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax to clear shorelines of the litter that often winds up in our waterways and threatens aquatic life.
The events took place in the lead-up to a meeting of G7 Environment, Energy and Oceans Ministers in Halifax this week, where the issue of ocean plastic will be a major focus.
“This year’s cleanups were an impressive showing of advocates for our blue planet, who came out on the weekend to do their part in ensuring cleaner shorelines for their communities,” said Kate Le Souef, manager of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. “As always, the crowds were enthusiastic and managed to have a lot of fun while doing good for our oceans, lakes and rivers. It was the perfect celebration to mark an important milestone in this program, and to thank the volunteers and supporters who have made it such a success over the last 25 years.”
It’s easy to use superlatives when discussing the program. Over the past quarter century, Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup participants have picked up nearly 1.3 million kilograms of litter, the equivalent weight of 240 killer whales. Volunteers have cleaned close to 34,000 kilometres of the country, the same distance travelled if you circled every Great Lake and its islands more than twice.
The results at some of the events today were equally impressive:
• At the Richmond event, which was co-hosted by Vancouver Airport Authority, volunteers collected more than 205 kilograms of marine litter at Iona Beach Regional Park.
• At the Toronto event at Cherry Beach, volunteers collected more than 307 kilograms of marine litter.
“Plastics pollution is choking our oceans, lakes and rivers, and littering the places Canadians love. Our government is serious about tackling this issue, and keeping plastics in our economy and out of our environment. I’m excited to see Canadians taking part in shoreline cleanups across the country. We all have a role to play in beating plastic pollution. Canada will continue its international leadership on plastics pollution next week when G7 environment ministers meet in Halifax.” – Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Over many years, volunteers at cleanups have seen it all when it comes to litter – Elvis wigs, wedding dresses and countless bottles with messages in them – along with the ubiquitous cigarette butts. Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup has hosted events for several years on International Costal Cleanup Day, which is marked in 100 countries worldwide with local citizens taking part in similar events, with cleanups also happening throughout the year. In Canada, the cleanups offer a hands-on opportunity for Canadians to help clear waterways of debris that might entangle wildlife or that they could ingest.
About the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup
The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, presented by Loblaw Companies Limited and Coca-Cola Ltd., is one of the largest direct action conservation programs in Canada. A conservation initiative of Ocean Wise and WWF-Canada, the Shoreline Cleanup aims to promote understanding of shoreline litter issues by engaging Canadians to rehabilitate shoreline areas through cleanups. www.ShorelineCleanup.ca
Ocean Wise is a not-for-profit organization whose vision is a world in which oceans are healthy and flourishing. www.ocean.org
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. wwf.ca