Cleaning Canada’s shorelines: 2019 in review
An outstanding number of Canadians of all ages took to their shorelines in support of healthy waterways last year. The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup saw record-breaking numbers of cleanups happening from coast to coast to coast. Thank you! What a way to celebrate our 26th year!
As the numbers start to roll in, we see that our volunteers have registered 2,990 shoreline cleanups (that’s about eight cleanups per day). If that isn’t impressive enough, they cleaned over 4,020 km of shorelines. This includes:
- 30% ocean, inlet or bay shorelines
- 31% lake or pond shorelines
- 4.5% areas with no water body present (remember: storm drains are shorelines too)
- 32% river, stream or creek shorelines
- 1.5% wetland, marsh or swamp shorelines
The final litter data of the year is still being compiled, but we’re already excited to get started on the 2019 Dirty Dozen list. What do you think will be at the top of the list? Will cigarette butts, tiny plastics and foam, and food wrappers remain the most commonly found items on our shorelines?
Plastic pollution doesn’t belong in nature, and wildlife bear the burden of our waste. If current trends continue, scientists predict there will be more plastic than fish (by weight) in the sea by 2050. In the oceans or our freshwater lakes and rivers, plastic is particularly harmful because it never goes away. It breaks up into tiny plastic fragments or fibers called microplastics, which threaten aquatic wildlife (they can eat the tiny pieces of plastic or get entangled in larger pieces).
We have an enormous impact on our world, but we also have the opportunity to make a difference. And many of us want to: a huge thank you goes out to the 84,480 volunteers who participated in shoreline cleanups last year. Your efforts made our waterways healthier for the wildlife and communities that call them home.
And while there may be snow on the ground in some parts of Canada, registration for 2020 is already open — Shoreline Cleanup is a year-round endeavour, which means it’s always a good time to clean your shoreline! When you lead a cleanup, the data you collect helps scientists and policy makers look for solutions on how to stop litter from entering our waterways in the first place.
Register to lead or join a cleanup at www.ShorelineCleanup.ca.
The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, presented by Loblaw Companies Limited and Coca-Cola Canada, is one of the largest direct-action conservation programs in Canada. A conservation partnership 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