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The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup

by Alexandra, Blaise, Jenna, & Tanner — Westcot Elementary, West Vancouver, BC

A checklist needed

On May 17, 2012, the grade 4/5 class and both of the grade 3 classes from Westcot Elementary School participated in The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. This event happens all over Canada from B.C. to Nova Scotia. We collect, sort, and classify debris along Ambleside Park, in West Vancouver. Each group received a black garbage bag for garbage; a blue garbage bag for recyclable items such as cans and bottles and every group received a sharps container for sharp items like glass and needles. We were split into small groups of 6 or 8 students, supervised by a teacher or parent volunteer. In each group there was a grade 4/5 leader who tallied the debris that was collected in his/her group. Later this information will be collected and sent to the International Coastal Conservancy. The goal of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is to remove the amount of litter on all waterways to create a healthy lifestyle for ocean and fresh water creatures.

Everyone walked downhill from our school to Ambleside beach and collected garbage along the way, even though this garbage wasn’t tallied. When we arrived at the park, we split into ten groups and were assigned to designated areas along the beach and park.

We began collecting and tallying garbage once we were at our designated area. We only collected for about 20 minutes. Some of the highlights of our cleanup were: food wrappers, plastic bags, cigarette butts, filters, bottle caps and lids. Some of our most unusual items were: socks, four baseballs and an ear plug! The most important total results of our tally of items collected are:

Items collected after several hours of cleaning.
  • Paper Bags (71)
  • Balloons (5)
  • Plastic Bags (88)
  • Beverage bottles (plastic) two liters or less (13)
  • Glass Beverage Bottles (39)
  • Caps, Lids (91)
  • Clothing, Shoes (5)
  • Cups, Plates, Forks, Knives, Spoons (41)
  • Food Wrappers\Containers (181)
  • Pull Tabs (13)
  • 6-Pack Holders (12)
  • Straw, Stirrers, (49)
The shoreline
The cleaning crew

Strangely, the beach and park were cleaner than we expected. We think this is happening for a number of reasons: people are being more respectful to the environment; people now understand the consequences of littering; and there are also many garbage cans on the beach. We also think people litter more in forested areas than in beaches because on the beach you are more open and it may be more embarrassing to be caught. Whereas in a forest you could easily put some garbage behind a tree and no one would notice. Or perhaps the wind carries most of the garbage into the ocean immediately whereas in the forest the trees block the garbage. Either way, people still litter and it was an important for us to help our community environment and maintain clean waterways.

Leave a comment

[This article has 4 responses]

Whoever intitated this activity deserves a round of applause. I hope you keep it up

Patricia , ON
Posted at June 07 2012 at 8:04 AM EST

This is so cool - why do you guys do this ?? :)

Laura, SK
Posted at June 12 2012 at 1:01 PM EST

Way to go guys. Thanks for the awesome effort.

Mike & Lynn, ON
Posted at June 18 2012 at 8:14 AM EST

Awesome! Keep up the great work! I miss this school.

MinJun Kim, BC
Posted at January 08 2014 at 10:23 AM EST

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