A program that started in 1994 with a small team of employees and volunteers at the Vancouver Aquarium, the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup has grown into a national program with several thousand volunteers across Canada taking part in an effort to clean up our shorelines.
Each September the Oldman Watershed Council and the Helen Schuler Nature Centre partner up to host a clean-up along the Oldman River in Lethbridge. Volunteers of all ages come out to participate in this event – we even get High Level Canoes and Kayaks out in there furthering our efforts by cleaning up from within the river!
The most common finds are cigarette butts, food containers and packaging, and bottle caps and lids. Some odd items that we have found over the years include: a chainsaw, a spear-gun (yes, you read that correctly!), bicycles, lawn furniture, shopping carts, car parts and even a microwave!
CHANGE IN BEHAVIOUR
Litter always has the potential to end up in or near the river - even if you don't directly throw it there. With our strong winds and the fact that our storm drains flow directly into the river, litter can be carried just about anywhere! And we are still finding it interesting how so many people don't considering throwing a cigarette butt on the ground as littering. Last year alone in the cleanups across Canada nearly half a million cigarette butts were collected – that's CRAZY!!!