What better way to celebrate and support Earth on Earth Day than to spend it with Surfrider improving the health of local beaches.
Surfrider Vancouver Island, a chapter of the non-profit environmental organization Surfrider Foundation that is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s oceans, waves and beaches, is inviting people to meet at Clover Point on Sunday (April 22) for a beach cleanup and social gathering.
From 1 to 3 p.m., volunteers will scour the beaches and pick up debris. There will be prizes for the group with the largest amount or the most unique piece of garbage.
This year’s theme for Earth Day internationally is End Plastic Pollution. Surfrider’s work is about informing and educating people about the fact that we need to halt our plastic use.
“We are beyond recycling. It’s not the three R’s – reduce, reuse, recycle – anymore,” said Chris-Ann Lake, the Surfrider Vancouver Island Chapter Co-Manager and Volunteer Co-ordinator. “Anything plastic can be broken down into microplastics which sea life mistake as food. That ends up in sea life, we eat them and it winds up in us. That is the trail we don’t want to go down anymore.”
Lake says the beach cleanups are a very inclusive and family-friendly way to spread the message.
“These beach cleanups are a really opportune time for education because there is evidence right in front of people. The majority of the waste we are collecting off the beaches is plastic,” said Lake. “Sometimes we have people show up to our beach cleanups with a plastic water bottle. But then when they start to do the beach cleanup they pick up a bunch of empty water bottles and it really clicks. They get it.”
Surfrider’s Ban the Bag campaign successfully resulted in the Bag Ban bylaw in Victoria set to come into effect in July. They are working hard to get other municipalities on board too.
“For me, I am most encouraged when I can have one-on-one conversations with people to pass on the knowledge. What are some ways I can do better? What are some better decisions? It is about welcoming people into community to have these conversations. Most people do end up making smarter decisions once they know,” said Lake.
Surfrider says to meet in the grassy area in the middle of the parking circle at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 22.
They will provide re-usable gloves and buckets for the beach cleanup.
Find more on their Surfrider Vancouver Island Facebook page, by phone at 250-886-3181 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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