Volunteers from Coastal Community Credit Union and Georgia Strait Alliance rolled up their sleeves, donned safety gloves, and invested many hours to successfully remove thousands of pieces of discarded litter and debris from local beaches across Vancouver Island.
A total of 170 employees, friends and family participated in the clean up at beaches in Victoria, Chemainus, Nanaimo, Parksville, Courtenay and Campbell River last month. The final tally of items removed included:
263 plastic bags
225 buoys and floats
297 glass beverage bottles
894 cigarettes and filters
228 pieces of rope
277 pieces of packaging/containers
200 shotgun shells/wadding
lots of bricks, asphalt and building materials
87 light bulbs
51 pieces of clothing
37 plastic sheets/tarps
9 fishing nets, 4 fishing lines, 5 lures
5 tire rims and 2 tires
2 life jackets
An engine, a propane tank, sleeping bag, appliance, tripod and many discarded wrappers, papers and other trash items.
Coastal Community employees, Matthew Beckett, Rachael Robinson, Ken Watson, and Ashley Nichols spearheaded this initiative through an employee program called ENRICH.
This program was developed as a one-time initiative to empower employees and community groups to work together to make a difference in Island communities in celebration of the company’s achievement as one of Canada’s Top 50 Employers for the first time in 2011.
“It is amazing to be part of such a worthwhile initiative that has far-reaching consequences for beach-users, our environment and all our communities,” said Rachael Robinson, senior accountant with Coastal Community Credit Union, and one of the project leads.
“Not only are we cleaning up garbage left on our shores – and having it properly recycled or disposed of – we are also providing statistics on all of the litter collected which helps scientists better understand what the problems are and how these change over time.”
The data is recorded and sent to the Vancouver Aquarium to become part of a database about the British Columbia coastline. The Information is included in an annual report about the Great Canadian Beach Cleanup as well as in international research as part of the International Coastal Cleanup – the world’s largest volunteer marine environment protection effort.
“We are grateful for organizations like Coastal Community that support community investment on Vancouver Island,” said Ruby Berry of Georgia Strait Alliance. “It is clear their employees are passionate about their communities, and their efforts are making a real difference to our local environment.”