Today at Harbour Green Park the City of Vancouver partnered with the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.
With today’s cleanup Vancouver becomes the second official clean shoreline community in Canada.
This designation acknowledges Vancouver’s commitment to protecting shorelines, reducing litter and improving the public realm of cleanliness.
In a press release, Mayor Gregor Robertson says ” By becoming a Clean Shoreline Community, we’ll be able to boost volunteers’ efforts in keeping our many kilometers of shoreline healthy and pristine”.
The importance of today
Vancouver Park Board Chair, Michael Wiebe, was at today’s cleanup and says too much litter is going into the oceans.
Wiebe says the litter isn’t coming from where you might expect.
“We’re recognizing that a lot of the stuff that is going into our oceans, isn’t actually coming from the boats and everything in the water. It actually come from our beaches and our parks; so stuff is being washed in and stuff is getting put through the drain.”
According to Wiebe, if things do not change our oceans will not be sustainable.
“People are leaving stuff and they don’t recognize that things aren’t going to get picked up. They put a couple of pop bottles beside the garbage can and think there going to get picked up by someone. Then basically it rains, the wind comes through and those are getting washed into the water and then there breaking down. We need to recognize everything we are bringing down to our parks, even if its on the sea-wall, it’s getting washed into the oceans and the oceans can’t survive if we continue to do this.”
Wiebe adds the park board must do a better job of educating people on how to keep our marine ecosystems clean.
Cigarette butts a problem in the park
Despite it being illegal to smoke in a park, volunteers found themselves picking up one particular piece of litter regularly today, cigarette butts.
Vancouver City Councillor, Andrea Reimer, says keeping the shorelines clean is a key part of making Vancouver the greenest city in the world and that means keeping cigarette butts out of parks and beaches.
“Regardless of where the cigarette butts are dropped if people are littering with them, they will eventually make there way into the aquatic environment. Either they wash through the train into the storm sewer or here they might wash down from the sidewalk eventually into an ocean or a river.”
Reimer says as a former smoker there is this mentality that cigarette butts aren’t litter.
She says this mind set needs to change and that she already picked up more than 100 cigarette butts.
Wiebe says the Park Board does recognize the problem and they have been increasing the number of patrol officers to issue fines to people who break the rule and smoke in the park.
Remier suggested a couple of solutions, such as adding signs to Harbour Green Park to remind residents that smoking is not allowed.