What it is
The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is a national conservation program which encourages Canadians coast to coast to make a difference by removing litter from along local shorelines, thereby protecting our oceans and waterways.
This is the 17th year the event has been held. According to Jill Dwyer, Manager of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, the first event was held in 1994, when a handful of Vancouver Aquarium employees and volunteers decided to get Canada involved in the International Coastal Cleanup.Some of the more unusual items to show up over the years include a message in a bottle (the message said, “Please don’t litter”), false teeth, a living room set, a canoe made out of duct tape, wedding dress, disco ball, a hotel safe, a toboggan, a mini trampoline and a clothesline complete with poles and pins.
Last year, nearly 57,000 Canadians registered to cleanup 1,568 sites across Canada. Nearly 161,000 kg of litter was removed from a cumulative distance of 2,500 km of shoreline (roughly equivalent to the driving distance from Vancouver to the Manitoba/Ontario border). And Canada earned the distinction of having hosted the third largest shoreline cleanup in the world—an impressive achievement, given that we are a relatively small country, population-wise, notes Dwyer.
This year, there are already over 700 cleanup sites registered across Canada—including over 240 in Ontario alone.
The event is popular with families, corporate groups, and youth organizations. (Over 50 percent of participants belong to youth groups, Boy Scouts, or Girl Guides, according to Dwyer.)
How it works
There are two ways to get involved: as a site coordinator or as a cleanup participant.
If you choose to become involved as a site coordinator, you choose the site you want to clean up, set the date and time for the cleanup, and recruit participants.
If you prefer to be a cleanup participant, you simply show up on the date and time that the site coordinator has established for the cleanup. (It's a good idea to bring gloves and a garbage bag, says Dwyer.)
At that point, you'll receive basic instructions about the cleanup. (In addition to collecting litter, one member of each team records data about the litter that has been picked up.)
Why your family might want to get involved
Participating in The Great Canadian Shoreline Community is a lot of fun. It's a great way to give back to your community. And it's something you can do to help the environment.
"It's easy to feel overwhelmed by environmental issues," Dwyer explains. "The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup gives you something to do that is hands-on and easy. And when you combine what you're doing with what people at other cleanup sites across Canada are doing, it's pretty huge."
How to find out more
This year’s Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup takes place from September 18 to 26, 2010.
For more information or to register please visit shorelinecleanup.ca.
367,010 - Cigarette
116,138 - Food wrappers
74,276 - Plastic Bags
63,471 - Caps, Lids
40,799 - Cutlery and Dishes
during the 2009
Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup