Volunteers collect 1,500 lbs of garbage from Earth Day beach cleanup in Victoria


WATCH: Hundreds of volunteers scoured Vancouver Island beaches as part of a massive clean-up for Earth Day. Ceilidh Millar reports. 

On a sunny spring day, Victoria’s Clover Point is almost picture-perfect but hidden away along our coastal beaches is a sight that’s anything but pretty.

“What’s easy to spot are items like a flip-flop or pop can,” said Carolyn Whittaker, a volunteer with the Vancouver Island Surfrider Foundation. “What happens over time is the styrofoam and the plastics start to break down. They turn into micro-plastics which we are finding more of along our beaches.”

Since 2015, volunteers have collected more than 22,000 lbs of garbage during the foundation’s monthly beach clean-ups in Greater Victoria.

“If we don’t start making changes now, they say in 2050 there’s going to be more plastics in the ocean than there are fish,” said Ali Ruddy from the Surfrider Foundation.

Today, hundreds of volunteers armed with reusable bags and gloves descended on beaches across Greater Victoria for an Earth Day clean-up.

Organizers say they collected more than 1,500 lbs during today’s clean-up at Clover Point.

“People are deeply committed to the ocean environment we live in,” explained Victoria MP Murray Rankin, who attended the event. “They’re very proud of living in a place like this and prepared to roll up their sleeves and take responsibility.”

“Everybody can step in and do their part,” said Ruddy. “Cleaning up beaches, stopping the use of single-use plastics or going to a restaurant and asking for a drink without a straw. The little things make all the difference.”

Earth Day was established in 1970 and is now observed in more than 150 countries.

The annual event is the largest environmental celebration in the world.

For more information about the Vancouver Island Surfrider Foundation or to take part in a beach clean-up, visit their website.

Ceilidh MillarCeilidh Millar

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