More than 100 people took part in the Tsawout and Tseycum First Nations’ shoreline cleanup.
Families and community members spent the Friday morning searching for anything that wasn’t natural to the area to properly dispose of them in the garbage or the recycling.
Tammy Sam, co-organizer, said Elders in the area had been calling for this cleanup to happen on Earth Day, asking for it to have a focus on preserving the land.
“To survey what we have in the waters and ensure that all these things are preserved for future generations,” Sam said.
Some participants who spoke to CHEK News said they saw a lot of glass, metal, chip bags and Styrofoam.
Marine experts with Ocean Networks Canada said items like that can look like food to wild and sea life.
“A lot of these organisms could be ingesting that, and that’s not good for whole food chain,” Luci Marshall, with Ocean Networks Canada, said.
According to Marshall, the amount of garbage and plastic in the ocean has increased over the last few years, creating a harmful environment for sea life.
She said beach cleanups like this one don’t just help local marine life, but also help shorelines across the earth.
“The oceans are all connected,” Marshall added. “The currents are moving. What we are seeing here and where it goes to, that’s going to impact somewhere else as well. If we can take it out of the system, I think that’s a benefit.”
Some participants told CHEK News they didn’t realize how much the garbage could affect the environment.
Peyton Siah, Tsawout First Nation youth ambassador, said “It made me realize how important it was to keep our beaches clean.”
There are plenty of other ways to help the shorelines and environment, according to Ocean Networks Canada.
It suggests turning off your faucets at home, using less plastic and disposing of any used item properly.