Greater Victoria Green Team volunteer Twila Provencher picks up garbage during the team’s beach clean up at Esquimalt Lagoon recently. Volunteers cleaned up 2,240 cigarette butts, 59 plastic pieces, 42 food wrappers, 33 bottle caps, 21 paper cups and plates as well as a number of other items.                                 (Greater Victoria Green Team photo)

Greater Victoria Green Team volunteer Twila Provencher picks up garbage during the team’s beach clean up at Esquimalt Lagoon recently. Volunteers cleaned up 2,240 cigarette butts, 59 plastic pieces, 42 food wrappers, 33 bottle caps, 21 paper cups and plates as well as a number of other items. (Greater Victoria Green Team photo)

Cigarette butts the main culprit in lagoon beach cleaup

Thousands of butts were picked up by the Greater Victoria Green team recently

Walking along Esquimalt Lagoon with clean-up supplies in hand, Amanda Evans was shocked by what she found.

Thousands of cigarette butts littered the Colwood beach, which is a migratory bird sanctuary. And that’s not all that was picked up from the shoreline.

Fourteen volunteers with the Greater Victoria Green Team, in collaboration with the Esquimalt Lagoon Stewardship Initiative, picked up 2,240 cigarette butts, 59 plastic pieces, 42 food wrappers, 33 bottle caps, 21 paper cups and plates, 17 glass pieces and 14 cigar tips, as well as a number of takeout containers, foam pieces, packaging material, straws, bottles and cans and toys during a beach cleanup of the Esquimalt Lagoon and Coburg Peninsula recently.

Some unusual items, including an old airplane seat belt and a recently expired parking pass for the University of Victoria were also picked up by the team, which is a region-wide environmental volunteer program that participates in the removal of invasive plants, cleaning up beaches and volunteering on educational farms.

While the Green Team has completed a total of four beach cleanups and invasive species removal at the lagoon since May 2016, they found the most amount of garbage this time around, with the main culprit being cigarette butts – an item the team says outnumbers any other type of trash they find throughout the Capital Region.

“It was quite shocking. It’s disgusting to think people would do that to a beach … I think it’s just a lack of awareness still of the impacts that we have on the natural environment. It’s easy to think once you’re done a cigarette that it will disintegrate, but it actually takes quite a long time to break down and they’re full of chemicals,” said Evans, program manager of the Green Team.

She noted in one area at the lagoon, there was a concentration of butts, where it looked like one person had emptied their car’s ash tray.

“Things are getting better, but there are some who are not quite aware of the impact their having by not putting their cigarette butt in the garbage,” Evans said.

The Green Team will continue its work on the West Shore this weekend by removing invasive plants at Chancellor Park in View Royal on Sunday, Oct. 22 from 9:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For more information or to volunteer visit, meetup.com/Greater-Victoria-Green-Team.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

kendra.wong@goldstreamgazette.com

ColwoodGreater Victoria Green Team

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

Just Posted

Katie Hamilton is one of three Victoria residents receiving a $10,000 podcast production grant from Telus Storyhive. Her podcast, Her Love of Sport, will take listeners through stories from women in the sports industry. (Courtesy of Katie Hamilton)
Three local podcasts coming to Victoria following Telus Storyhive grants

Victoria podcasts chosen out of 700 applications to receive $10,000

Staff celebrate the opening of the Vancouver Island Cancer Centre adjacent to Royal Jubilee Hospital in March 2001. (Photo provided by Provincial Health Services Authority)
Victoria cancer centre marks two decades of saving lives

BC Cancer – Victoria is B.C.’s second largest cancer centre

Wild Wise Sooke is urging the public to be bear aware. (Photo by Brian Rundle)
Wild Wise Sooke reminds public to be aware of bears

Residents asked to be mindful of their garbage habits, not to draw in wildlife

“Racing Classics” by John Horton depicts sailboats near Trial Island off the coast of Oak Bay. The painting will be featured in his <em>Maritime Impressions</em> exhibit at the Winchester Gallery until April 14.
Greater Victoria galleries beckon spring with vibrant, whimsical nature scenes

At The Galleries: look at what’s on display this month

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Organ donation form from BC Transplant. (BC Transplant)
POLL: Have you registered as an organ donor?

They number 1.5 million strong and growing. But their numbers still fall… Continue reading

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 April 6

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

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

Most Read