Cleaning Up Shorelines

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  • #10360
    Roxanne Rousseau

    This was posted by Reed Clarke:

    Paddled out of Pender Harbour to Cockburn Beach on Nelson Island, yesterday. I think this would present a very worthy target for a club cleanup.

    Check it out on my blog:

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  • #10369
    Nick Heath

    On time and sort of on topic – Vancouver Aquarium will host a session (as they did  last year) at 7 p.m. Monday, March 7, 2016 also via live streaming. See Aliens

    They charge admission, unfortunately. The focus again this year seems to be still on tsunami debris, although anyone who paddles our shores knows that this is/was only a very minor part of the beach flotsam mess that we encounter everywhere.  I think it must have something to do with their funding source…and their wish to spend at least some of this cash on something other than salaries & benefits. Probably worth taking in anyhow, and you could ask some probing questions!

    Nick Heath

    I agree with  almost everything you say, Jonathan, but part of this is about influence and politics, so in order to generate the inevitable ‘spin’, organizations seem to feel the need to gather data and justify themselves.

    I really like the idea of cleaning up wherever and whenever we go – this has become part of our family’s modus tourandi and it could/should be the club’s too.  One of the problems with picking up stuff is volume. Making a big pile on a beach for some other person to maybe pick up does not seem useful.  It is certainly a better idea is  to travel with a suitable container – a fine  mesh bag might work best.  I have used an old sail bag, but they are usually too big.

    Some boaters (like me) might be willing to pick up stuff that is already piled on a beach, but it depends how far away it is – distance is fuel and fuel is both money and pollution.  Burning gobs of fossil fuel to pick up errant plastic bottles is hard to justify.

    Eventually, our cleanup actions have to become normal rather than abnormal or special occasion behaviours.

    I like the idea of a trip out to Cockburn Beach, but I suspect it would not generate enough participants. However it is worth a try.

    Roxanne Rousseau

    This was posted by Jonathon J.

    Roxanne’s email reminds me to post my thoughts on doing a shoreline clean-up with Great Canadian Shore Line Clean-up, which I was keen on at our last meeting.

    On the plus side, there are lots of pre-defined shoreline areas to choose from with this group, or one can submit a new one (but presumably it goes through a review process and my guess is that a site that is only accessible by kayak might be rejected as being inaccessible to many potential participants).

    However, participation requires counting every item collected and weighing the results. Personally, I think this more than doubles the effort of simply cleaning a shoreline, and reduces the enjoyment. There is undoubtedly some value in the resulting statistics, but…

    So, although I was keen on the Great Canadian Shore Line Clean-up, to begin with, I’m now thinking that simply getting out and cleaning up some shoreline, without official sanction, is simpler and more enjoyable. I’m with Reed on the idea of a trip to clean some area up, if a suitable one can be found, and otherwise, or in addition, I’d suggest that we work on making clean-up a part of every official SKABC trip and training course. If every club trip (and ideally every private one as well), took a few trash bags along and collected at least all the small stuff on a beach or campsite, if not the large items, it would make the site that much nicer for the next group. No matter that a few changes of the tide later brings new stuff; it’s not about perfection or returning the beach to a pristine wilderness state as much as it is just making it a bit better for the next group of visitors, in my view. I think this would provide a great sense of satisfaction, without having to record exactly how many plastic bags and cigarette butts were picked up.

    Perhaps the next step in the above is to present this to the club executive for official endorsement of the idea that every club outing include a clean-up component, and to the trips and training coordinators to include in materials provided to trip leaders and training course instructors. Maybe it should go on kit lists as a standard item.

    I’m going to attempt to put my money where my mouth is and take trash bags on my next paddles and see if I can’t make some small difference.

    As for a clean-up day trip by this group and interested others, I defer back to Reed on finding a suitably garbage-strewn area for us to visit. Happy to join that paddle. What about a tour of a few spots in Indian Arm, like Racoon or Twin Islands? Or surely there is some garbage somewhere in Howe Sound. Maybe the mid-June trip can plan to bring back whatever is found.


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