Beaches near Sidney’s Tsehum Harbour to receive first clean up in years

Beaches near Sidney’s Tsehum Harbour to receive first clean up in years

Peninsula Streams Society hopes to attract 50 volunteers for the Saturday event

Saturday, the beaches ringing Sidney’s Tsehum Harbour will join, at least for a couple of hours, the frontlines of the global war against polystyrene, better known by its brand name of Styrofoam.

Peninsula Stream Society lead the charge in the clean up around the busy harbour, itself near a bird sanctuary and a residential area.

Brian Koval, assistant coordinator for Peninsula Streams Society, said the area was last tidied in 2017.

“The issue with harbours of course is that things off come boats, things come off docks, especially Styrofoam,” said Koval, who is hoping that some 50 volunteers will join him in Resthaven Park, starting at 10 a.m.

RELATED: Volunteers rip out a ‘small hill’ of invasive plants from North Saanich park

According to Francesca Loro, the society’s stewardship and education coordinator, about 30 people have already signed up. “We had almost 50 volunteers at our holiday beach clean-up last year,” she said.

Scientists consider polystyrene, along with various types of plastic, one of the worst threats to aquatic life of all sizes and kinds. It is unclear how much Styrofoam floats in the ocean. It makes up countless items including food containers such as plates and cups but also household items. According to one study, Americans throw away an estimated 25 billion Styrofoam cups every year, or about 82 cups per person.

It is against this scourge Saturday’s cleanup takes up arms.

“The big chunks, of course, could get eaten,” said Koval. “That’s not good for [acquatic life], and as it breaks down, it gets smaller and smaller, and smaller organisms end up eating them.”

Eventually, it will get so small, that smaller filter feeders will absorb it, he added.

This phenomenon does not exempt humans though. While polystyrene never fully degrades, it absorbs other chemicals from the environment, which then bio-accumulate up the food chain, affecting human health.

RELATED: Volunteers needed for Pat Bay beach clean-up

The society will supply gloves and equipment. Interested volunteers can also bring their own.

Organizers will also show how to sample for forage fish, small fish that eat microscopic plants and animals drifting near the ocean surface, then serve as food supply for larger fish.

Finally, the event will also include a visit from Santa and a post-clean up social event with warm drinks.

Events like Saturday’s can make a major difference for both the environment and the public purse, said Koval.

“Really where the money is, and really where we are saving, is the fact that that we have volunteers out there, cleaning up the beach, as opposed to having to pay municipal workers,” he said. “The in-kind contribution of the volunteer hours is just so significant towards the project.”


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Vancouver Island Crisis Society has seen a five per cent rise in call volumes compared to this time last year. (Black Press Media file photo)
Winter blues a concern for Vancouver Islanders during COVID-19 Christmas season

Statistics show British Columbians anticipate worsening mental health

Jason Soukochoff is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, say Victoria police. (Courtesy VicPD)
Victoria police seek man with violent criminal history against elderly

Jason Soukochoff wanted on Canada-wide warrant for parole violations

Bystanders attend to a cyclist who is knocked to the pavement of Oak Bay Avenue. Witnesses say the cyclist was knocked off their bike in a dooring incident on Oak Bay Avenue at Fell Street at around 12:40 p.m. on Wednesday. 
(Daniel Opden Dries Photo)
UPDATED: VicPD tickets driver for ‘dooring’ cyclist on Oak Bay Avenue

Incident occurred at Oak Bay Avenue and Fell Street

West Shore RCMP pulled over a 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee on Nov. 23 after noting that it didn’t appear safe for the road. (West Shore RCMP)
West Shore RCMP pull over vehicle held together by tape and cargo strap

RCMP deemed the vehicle unsafe for the road and had it towed away

Salon owner Philip Ferreira with the PPE collection box at The Natural Hair Salon, 618 View St. (Mariah Johal photo)
Victoria salon inspires more mask recycling

Anyone welcome to drop disposable masks in bin outside View Street shop

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 24

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(AP Photo/Haven Daley)
POLL: Do you think the current COVID-19 restrictions should continue beyond Dec. 7?

One week into the new restrictions to curtail the spread of the… Continue reading

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at Okanagan campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. woman loses appeal to have second child by using late husband’s sperm

Assisted Human Reproduction Act prohibits the removal of human reproductive material from a donor without consent

An excavator was stolen from a rural property south of Nanaimo this month, say police. (Photos submitted)
Excavator stolen from property south of Nanaimo

Bobcat Mini believed to have been stolen between Nov. 12-14, say RCMP

Krista Macinnis displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
B.C. mom angry that students asked to list positive stories about residential schools

Daughter’s Grade 6 class asked to write down 5 positive stories or facts

B.C. projects targeting the restoration of sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser and Columbia Watersheds will share in $10.9 million of federal funding to protect species at risk. (Kenny Regan photo)
13 projects protecting B.C. aquatic species at risk receive $11 million in federal funding

Salmon and marine mammals expected to benefit from ecosystem-based approach

Most Read