At around 10 a.m. Saturday morning, dozens of citizen scientists will descend on the shores of Iona Beach Park to kick off the 20th Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.
“It’s a great way to engage the public as citizen scientists, as they help us collect the data,” said Jill Dwyer, program manager.
For the past 20 years, tens of thousands of Canadians have gathered to clean their local shores of harmful litter over the course of a week. This year, the cleanup runs from Sept. 21 to Sunday, Sept. 29.
Dwyer has seen how the information collected by the various crews contributes to further action in a particular city.
“A few years ago, a school group in Whistler discovered that plastic bags contributed to a lot of the waste on the shoreline,” she said. “They then petitioned their local government to ban plastic bags.”
The data also forms the infamous Dirty Dozen list, comprising of the usual culprits such as cigarette butts, wrappers and cans.
The shoreline cleanup is the largest direct-action environmental project in Canada and is a conservation initiative of the Vancouver Aquarium and World Wildlife Foundation.
“It’s important to get this stuff off the shoreline before it goes into the waterways and harms the wildlife,” Dwyer said. “Plus, it’s fun and a great way to connect with your community while doing something positive for the environment.”
The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is for all ages. Saturday’s event includes lunch, games and cake, and runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Between 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., YVR has arranged for free shuttle buses to transport participants between Iona Beach and the Templeton SkyTrain Station. For more information, visit www.shorelinecleanup.ca.
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