Sunday’s second-annual City Wide Beach Clean-Up was a success as more than 200 volunteers showed up to recover 665 pounds of waste from 10 beaches.
“We focused on cigarette butts this year and filled a five gallon water container with cigarette butts which is estimated at about 35,000 butts, based on weight,” said chapter manager Gillian Montgomery of Surfrider Vancouver Island, who led the clean-up. “I think the solution is to install cigarette canisters and to better educate people about cigarette butts. If they’re throwing them out on beaches they’re throwing them in parks.”
The overall amount of total garbage weight removed was lower than last year due to ongoing beach cleans throughout the year, including a fairly recent Gorge Waterway clean-up that yielded about 1,000 pounds, Montgomery said. Volunteers worked for 90 minutes then reconvened at Clover Point to sort and weigh it all.
“Every beach that we cleaned had at least one, if not two clean-ups this year [since last year’s City Wide Clean-Up], plus beaches like Willows and Cadboro Bay have clean-ups by other groups. It’s still a lot of debris,” Montgomery said.
Coffee cups and straws were common offenders, with a derelict, broken row boat coming out of Cadboro Bay.
“Yes, we banned plastic bags. That was just the beginning,” said Mayor Lisa Helps, who spoke to the volunteers.
“Thank you to all the community that came out, our sponsors, and especially to Atlas Junk, who are amazing, we couldn’t do all this work without them, they come to most of our cleanups,” Montgomery said.