Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is a annual national community effort to rid the Canadian shoreline of marine debris.


In 1993, four employees at the Vancouver Aquarium decided to protect the shorelines of Vancouver by cleaning up the shore of a local beach. The project was originally known as the Great BC Beach Cleanup. In 2001, the initiative expanded into Alberta and became known as the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. In 2005, TD signed on as a title sponsor and became known as the TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.

In 2007, cities where participants cleaned up the shoreline include, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, [ Montreal] , Halifax, and St. John's. Every participant location submits a data card of information that is collected and sent to the Ocean Conservancy. With this information, reports on the impact of marine debris on the environment is then able to be conducted, for example, [ "Marine Debris: A Focus for Community Engagement"] ,a report by Paul Topping presented at the Coastal Zone Canada Conference in 2000.


The TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is one of the largest conservation initiatives of the [ Vancouver Aquarium.] While coordinated out of Vancouver, BC, Canada - the program reaches into every province and territory of Canada. In 2007, over 52,000 volunteers participated in helping clean up the shores of Canada.

This initiative is part of the Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup [The Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup is an international event running typically in the third week of September promoting environmental stewardship of coastal areas. [ About the International Coastal Cleanup] ] , a national program encouraging community members to remove trash and debris from their shorelines. [ [ :: UNEP :: Regional Seas Programme :: Marine Litter ] ] "The event focuses on educating and empowering people to become a part of the marine debris solution." [] . Canada is one of at least 120 countries world wide participating in this program, others include: Australia, USA, Mexico, Singapore, Fiji, Kuwait, Peru, China, Jamaica, Barbados, France and the United Kingdom. Currently, the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is the second largest cleanup in the world.

Some quick statistics on the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup for the last few years:

How it works

Powered by Canadians, this program allows people from all regions and all walks of life to make a positive difference to their environment. Since 2003, more than 180,000 Canadians registered to clean up just 6,807 km of shorelines. Together, they have removed 365,427 kg of litter off Canada's shorelines. Participants are encouraged to register to clean-up a specific site in advance, but some sites in larger cities have the ability to publicly host people as they drop-in to participate in the event.

Year round staff work out of the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park and a satellite office in Toronto, Ontario. Participants can choose from a past list of shoreline sites or they can add a new shoreline to the database. Eligible shorelines include ones on oceans, rivers, lakes, streams, ponds and wetlands.

Program typically runs the 3rd week every September, however early registration is highly recommended as preferred shoreline sites are usually snapped up by returning Site Coordinators early. Registration to be a Site Coordinator runs from February 1 until mid-August. Participants wanting to join a clean-up are welcome to register up until the day of the event.

Unexpected finds

A cleanup of any shoreline will reveal some unexpected discoveries. Over the years, participants have hauled out stolen cars, motorcycles, hotel safes, as well as innumerable bikes, mattresses, couches and computer equipment. On Canadian shorelines a variety of drug paraphernalia, medical/hygiene waste and clothing - mostly underwear are found. Some items suggest people have a romantic affiliation with the shoreline, and some items suggest that the romance is over (burned engagement ring boxes, engagement rings, torn up letters, etc).

Participants in all parts of the country have found weapons, evidence bags, suicide notes, etc, as well as, barbecues, toilets, patio furniture and auto parts.

Unfortunately, while participants find a variety of strange items every year, they also find the same items every time we do a cleanup. In 2007 alone, participants removed 270,756 cigarette butts from shorelines across Canada. Every year, cigarette butts top the list of finds in Canada, and around the world. The top ten items routinely includes; plastic bags, bottle caps and coffee cup lids, plastic and glass bottles, straws and stirrers, eating utensils, food wrapping, tobacco packaging and building supplies.

The 2007 Dirty Dozen

imilar initiatives

Coastal and shoreline initiatives exist around in the world.

California Coastal Day

The California Coastal Commission organizes one of the largest cleanups in the USA, called [ California Coastal Cleanup Day] . California Coastal Cleanup Day is held the same time as the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup and International Coastal Cleanup.


External links

* [ Clean Up Australia]
* [ Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup home page]

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