On June 17th, we held a shoreline cleanup at Big Tribune Bay Beach with the Hornby School. Students, parents, school staff, and volunteers combed through the driftwood, seaweed, and bushes for debris. It was a cool lovely morning at the beach after a morning rain shower – perfect for a beach cleanup.
The cleanup crew broke into small groups. Tina Wai commented on her groups’ experience:
“My group collected 3 bags of garbage, including a large chunk of styrofoam, a dozen beer cans, and lots and lots of plastic rope. We learned that cigarette butts are toxic to birds. We had a good discussion at the end about all the plastic rope we found.”
Some photos from the day. (Click on any photo to view the slideshow.)
The experience led everyone to reflect on the way that marine debris harms the environment and wildlife, and how we can work together to prevent beach pollution.
The vast amount of garbage such as plastic in our oceans has disastrous consequences on marine life. It is estimated that at least 1 million seabirds die each year due to plastic pollution. Entanglement can lead to death through illness or suffocation. Animals such as fish also eat plastic which can damage the digestive system and cause starvation.
Here are some ways we can work together to prevent marine debris:
- Remember that the land and sea, no matter where you are, are connected.
- Reduce the amount of waste you produce.
- Reduce the amount of “stuff” you consume (especially toxins and non-recyclable items). See http://storyofstuff.org/
- Reuse items whenever possible. Choose reusable items over disposable ones.
- Recycle. Bottles, cans, cell phones, ink cartridges, and many other items can be recycled.
- Get involved in your community! Participate in shoreline cleanups, raise environmental awareness, volunteer with a wildlife rescue…and many more possibilities.
Next year we’d like the event to coincide with World Oceans Day, which is June 8th, and involve the whole community and perhaps several beaches.
A special thanks to Tony Law for facilitating the management of the waste from the shoreline cleanup with BC Parks.