WWF-Canada Blog:

It’s a Wrap: Shoreline Cleanup 2012 Numbers are in!

If this is the first time you’ve heard of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, it is the largest direct action conservation initiative in Canada. A collaboration between Vancouver Aquarium and WWF, this effort mobilizes shoreline cleanups throughout Canada – anywhere where land meets water. This year, spring cleanups in May were conducted in B.C. and Ontario by school, youth, and scout groups (over 8,800 registered participants), and the national fall cleanup, Sept. 15-23, took place across the country, and involved over 48,000 registered participants.

(c) Katie Edmonds/WWF-Canada

Six weeks after this year’s fall Shoreline Cleanup week, we have our Dirty Dozen list for the 2012 Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, and have submitted them to the International Coastal Cleanup, of which Shoreline Cleanup is a participant.

Here is this year’s Dirty Dozen List:

Item Number of items collected
  1. Cigarettes/Cigarette Filters
  1. Food Wrappers
  1. Bags (Plastic)
  1. Caps/Lids
  1. Beverage Bottles (plastic) 2 liter or less
  1. Beverage Cans
  1. Cups, plates, etc
  1. Straws/Stirrers
  1. Beverage Bottles (glass)
  1. Bags (Paper)
  1. Tobacco Packaging
  1. Building Materials












It’s no surprise that cigarette butts, food wrappers and containers and plastic bags still hold the top three spots on our dirty dozen list, but it’s been years since any item has beat out cigar tips from this list of the most commonly found items from our shorelines. In 2008, it was rope, and this year it’s building materials. Who could have guessed?

(c) Katie Edmonds/WWF-Canada

Site coordinators estimated that over 16,000 bags of garbage and recycling were removed from our shorelines, equaling 136,036 kg – the approximate weight of ten school buses.

If we lined up the distances for all the shorelines cleaned end to end during this fall’s cleanup, it would total 3,102 km, almost equal to the driving distance between Toronto and the Alberta/Saskatchewan border, or the distance of 75.5 marathons.

A huge thank you goes out to the thousands of people who participated in the 19th annual Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup as a site coordinator or cleanup participant. Thank you for helping keep our waters healthy for everyone, including the wildlife and communities that depend on them. To learn more about Shoreline Cleanup, visit our website.