Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup hopes to set a new record for Canada’s 150th

Volunteers for Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup

Birthdays are certainly a time for celebration, but they’re also often a time for self-reflection. With each passing year, we take stock not just of achievements, but also of goals for the future and areas where we could improve.

Which is why the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup has chosen Canada’s 150th anniversary as the year to attempt to set a new record for cleaning up Canada’s shores. The GCSC is an organization dedicated to removing waste from shorelines across Canada the old-fashioned way—by getting groups of people together and cleaning up by hand—and in 2017, they hope to get more hands involved than ever before.

Founded in 1994, the Shoreline Cleanup was started when volunteers and employees with the Vancouver Aquarium decided to clean up a beach in Stanley Park. The movement soon spread across Canada, growing with each year. Last year, more than 77,000 people helped clean up over 2,300 shorelines across the country, and for 2017, the GCSC is hoping to get 150,000 people involved in cleaning up the shorelines in their communities.

“We’re setting an ambitious target because we believe Canadians have a responsibility to protect the nature around them,” Shoreline Cleanup manager Rachel Schoeler told CNW, “and as last year’s record participation shows, Canadians care deeply about the health of their communities and want to take action for the environment.”

volunteer sorting through plastic debris
A volunteer sorts through plastic litter collected along the West Coast Trail. [Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup]
According to the Shoreline Cleanup’s website, some of the most common items removed from shorelines are cigarette butts, plastic bottles, and food wrappers. Litter in bodies of water can clog waterways, introduce toxins into the ecosystem, and strangle wildlife.

“From storm drains, parks and school yards to lakes, rivers and oceans, shoreline litter impacts people and wildlife such as frogs, turtles, whales and birds in every corner of the country,” Schoeler said. “By participating in the Shoreline Cleanup, we’re picking up debris before it has the chance to get into our aquatic ecosystems.”

To book a cleanup in your community, register online at the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup’s website.