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Trash pickers: The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup

Most people don't think twice when they throw a cigarette butt or plastic straw or cup out their car window.  I often wonder where these “trash throwers” think their items end up? Out of sight, out of mind, right?

If only they knew or cared that their litter usually finds its way to water; contaminating our oceans, river, lakes and drinking water; impacting wildlife and people; and altering the sensitive balance of our ecosystem.

Litter impacts our environment in a variety of ways, but generally speaking it makes our natural spaces less healthy, less safe and less enjoyable.

Litter is often a byproduct of human activities. Recreational activities such as beach lounging, picnicking, etc where people dispose of trash on land and the items are either blown into the water, or carried by rivers and storm drains to the shorelines.

Ocean and waterway activities such as fishing and boating, as well as commercial fishing are also big time litter producers. The items originating from these activities are usually oil, bottles, ropes, fishing lines etc.

Frequently, people use parks and beaches as their own personal ashtrays, leaving behind cigarette butts, cigarette packaging, plastic cigar tips, matches and lighters.

In some cases, people don't dispose of building and construction materials, cars and car parts, household appliances, tires and batteries in the proper manner. It has happened where these items are simply dumped and left to contaminate our waterways and shorelines.

Diapers, tampons, syringes and needles must be disposed of in a certain way to minimize their impact on the environment. However, many people do not take the time to dispose of them properly which is not only bad for the environment, but straight-out nasty!

Next weekend, along side my daughter, I will be participating in The Great Canadian Shore Cleanup. This event, sponsored by WWF Canada and the Vancouver Aquarium, will take place across Canada from September 17 – 25.

The Cleanup is designed to promote education on shoreline litter issues by encouraging Canadians to rehabilitate shoreline areas through cleanups.

The shore clean up started in 1994 and has grown to 47,027 registrants. Last year alone, volunteers picked up a whooping 98,071kg of trash. Of that trash, 2227,830 cigarette butts were collected. People please clean up your butts because that figure is seriously disgusting.

So, why not be part of the solution to help keep our ecosystems cleaner, healthier and safer for wildlife and people. Go and grab a bag and collect some trash that would otherwise end up in our water. Whether you decide by joining The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup by signing up here or by doing your own thing; if we all take action, the impact will be immense!

Where’s your bag?

Source: Shoreline Cleanup

Reader Interactions


  1. Sara says

    Super cool Steph! Our district (Girl Guides) will be out next Friday to clean up the shoreline of the North River as we’ve done the last 3 years. I’ll keep ya posted 🙂

  2. Mizz Review Lady says

    So true! This is a major reason why our highways are littered with so much trash! I use to go volunteer on a creek week clean up and there was always tons of trash that people had thrown out too lazy to pick it up!

  3. Laura P says

    Blows my mind that people throw lit cigarette butts ouy onto the street…see it all the time. WOW

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