A camper van trailer and dozens of old tires made up just some of the thousands of pounds of debris removed from Triangle Beach by two Richmond companies.
About 25 volunteers from 505-Junk and Platinum Pro Claim Restoration – which organized the event – completed the shoreline cleanup on June 12, removing 7,000 pounds of debris or about three full truckloads, said Barry Hartman, co-founder and CEO of 505-Junk.
“Everyone had fun – there was really good energy. I think because everyone had just one goal, to get as much weight off the shoreline as possible… Three hours later, that area was pretty swept clean.”
All of the items were recycled or disposed of in an environmentally-friendly manner, he said.
The cleanup was done out of a “sense of duty to the community,” Hartman said.
“We have all the people and trucks, we’re capable and excited to do it. It’s almost our sense of duty to take care of that because no one else is going to.”
In addition to the camper van trailer and about 30 tires, volunteers cleaned up plenty of cardboard, styrofoam, scrap wood, as well as heavy netting that had washed up along the shoreline.
Those items can be more challenging to properly dispose of, which is why people may end up dumping them, said Hartman, adding that volunteers also filled buckets with small debris like cans and bottles.
“What we would encourage, is to not make the choice to illegally dispose (of items), because of the negative impact it has on the environment and also, you’re really just passing on the responsibility to someone else by not holding yourself accountable,” he said.
Illegal dumping is an ongoing problem in Richmond.
Last year, there were 982 reported instances of illegal dumping in the city – up 21 per cent from 2019. The most frequently dumped items – left in dead end roads, laneways, industrial or rural areas – are furniture, mattresses, drywall or hazardous material and construction material.
And, in 2020 alone, the City of Richmond spent over $171,000 cleaning up abandoned items, city spokesperson Clay Adams told the Richmond News earlier this year.
Across the region, cleaning up abandoned items costs local governments around $5.8 million each year, according to Metro Vancouver.