The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is on from Sept. 15 to 23, and there are lots of local opportunities for Burnaby residents to spend a day collecting trash from our beaches, riverfronts and creeks.
"The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is a great opportunity for the community to come together and channel their passion for the environment into action," said North Burnaby resident Peter Cech, who's organizing a beach cleanup at Confederation Park.
The Vancouver Aquarium started the annual shoreline cleanup in 1994. Since then, the initiative has grown into a cross-Canada event, one of the largest of its kind in the country. Every year, tens of thousands of volunteers head out to their local beaches, rivers and streams to collect trash. They sort and weigh the garbage and record the results. In 2011, 56,293 people collected 143,737 kilograms of garbage from more than 1,600 sites. The number 1 item gathered was cigarette butts, followed by food wrappers, plastic bags, and caps or lids.
Cech cited a number of reasons for getting involved in the initiative: frustration from the lack of government action to address the ongoing oil seep from the local Chevron refinery and concerns about the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion and diluted bitumen coming through the Burrard Inlet. He also mentioned a recent UBC study on West Coast seabirds with bellies full of plastic and the need to raise public awareness on environmental pollution.
"People need to know about this," he said. "We have a sensitive marine environment, and if we don't take care of it, it won't be there for our kids."
Cech's Confederation Park cleanup is on Sept. 15, at 10 a.m. and should last about two-and-a-half hours. People can sign up online at www.shorelinecleanup.ca, but participants need to bring their own gloves, buckets and tongs.
"Show up, clean up, give each other a pat on the back for doing something really good and talk to our friends and neighbours about the things we need to be thinking about to protect our environment," Cech said.
The Confederation Park cleanup is one of several in Burnaby. There are also events at Deer Lake and Silver Creek, and people are always welcome to start their own cleanup. For more information, go to www.shorelinecleanup.ca.