After a minor wind delay on the original date of April 27th, the South Delta Shoreline Cleanup turned out to be a great success. At 10:00AM on June 1st, nearly 100 volunteers came out Wellington Point Park in Ladner. After getting fuelled with Starbucks Coffee and delicious treats from Thrifty Foods, everyone prepared to head out to the shorelines of South Delta. But not before a little bit of direction and an inspiring speech from Brad of Becir Real Estate, and our very own General Manager Alex Elsey. Just like that, the 2019 South Delta Shoreline Cleanup was underway.
With volunteers covering over 16 shorelines across South Delta, and multiple boats in the waters around Westham Island, the junk was coming in fast. One of the boats didn’t even make it 3 minutes from the boat launch before having to come back with a load of plastic containers and debris they found along the shoreline.
Every little bit matters on our shorelines
One thing to keep in mind during shoreline cleanups is that size does not matter! As great as it is to see the large items like tires and chairs removed, the smaller ones are equally as important! All the little things like styrofoam bits, fishing line, cigarette butts and straws can easily get hidden from the human eye, eventually becoming an issue for wildlife. South Delta has one of the largest Great Blue Heron colonies in North America, and their main source of food is along our shoreline. These smaller plastics can easily be mistaken as food to these birds, as well as the many other types of wildlife that call the shorelines home.
Here is a list of some of the top items that were picked up:
- Plastics (small and large)
- Cigarette butts
- Styrofoam (small and large)
Some of the common trends that we saw were illegally dumped items, with most of these items only being accessible by vehicle. We saw everything from mattresses to a large pile of bricks. These people have already gone through the effort of loading the material in their vehicles to get it there, but couldn’t take it to the proper recycling facilities! Illegal dumping can be a $500 fine, plus the cleanup cost of the material dumped.
6,000 lbs removed from the shoreline
By the end of the day, the amazing group of volunteers managed to collect, organize and recycle over 6,000 lbs of material from the shorelines! Our General Manager, Alex Elsey, had this to say:
“I teamed up with Brad on this awesome initiative because living and working in South Delta is a major part of my life. I’m on those beaches 4-5 times per week. I was fed up every time I would go out for a walk with my wife and we would end up having to pick up countless amounts of garbage everywhere we went. We’d always take bags and pick up whatever we could find. There are also a lot of kids and dogs on the beach with broken glass and this is not what we envision for our community.
The main purpose for me is that I really wanted to make positive change. It was great to see the community band together and make a difference with a little bit of organization. The sheer amount of material that we collected in one day, over 6,000 pounds pulled off the shorelines, was incredible. People caused the problem in the first place, so we need people to solve it. I’m very proud of everyone that volunteered.”
This truly was a successful shoreline cleanup. It was so great to see children helping pick up items, which really did make it a family event. We cannot wait to see what next years event brings. You won’t want to miss it!
Thank you to everyone who helped
First of all, thank you to Brad Becir and Alex Elsey for organizing such an amazing event. Without the two of you, none of this would have been possible. We would also like to thank all the following sponsors for the event: City of Delta, Ladner Starbucks, Thrifty Foods, Stillwater Sports, Tecarte Farms, White Spot, Ronan Considine Photography, Experience Delta, Dulux Canada, Delta-Ladner Rod & Gun Club, Ambiente, The Delta Optimist and Tsawwassen First Nation.