Thanks to a Small Neighbourhood Grant from Vancouver Foundation, the support of Kitsilano Neighbourhood House, Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup and Keep Vancouver Spectacular, plus the donations from local businesses, we were able to complete a fun and all inclusive shoreline clean-up where people in the community worked together to clean the shores of Locarno Beach and educate passersby.
We decided to hold a Shoreline Cleanup event as my biggest pet peeve is garbage, especially plastic. We not only wanted to reduce the possibility of litter entering our oceans and the mouths of unfortunate sea birds and fish, we wanted to encourage folks to reduce the garbage they produced.
Together with 10 adults and 6 children signed up for the event we collected over 80 pounds of garbage including 877 cigarette butts! The biggest item we collected was a 3’ x 1’x 1’ plastic holding tank. We also found toys, clothing, fishing gear, and of course your typical packaging material, bottles, lids and straws, just to name a few. Recording every item we collected was not as tedious as we thought it would be. This data is so important for creating solutions for litter free shorelines.
With the help of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup’s 2015 statistics and their Change Starts with Action poster, we created a billboard to display to the event participants and passersby how litter harms our ocean life and what actions they can take to make a difference. People were concerned when they found out how much and what kind of litter had been collected across Canada in 2015 and how it affected the wildlife. Dozens of passersby were very thankful for our cleanup efforts and some inquired how they could sign up for one. We do hope we influenced the volunteers and passersby to take actions to reduce their garbage.
The event provided a community project for people to meet and work together to clean a shoreline that the whole community can enjoy. Plus it demonstrated the importance of clean shorelines to protect the ocean and wildlife.

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