Organization Spotlight: Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup

Shoreline CleanupAt DP World Vancouver, we believe businesses can help the community in many ways: by making donations, by encouraging volunteers, and even by operating a charity of their own. Our Community Kinship programme points the way toward organizations that contribute to the greater good in Vancouver and across the country. One such programme is the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.

What’s the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup?

In 1994, a group of employees and volunteers at the Vancouver Aquarium decided that they’d spend a day cleaning up the city’s Stanley Park. From that single, simple act, the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup grew. Eight years later, in 2002, the programme went national. Today, it’s a year-round effort, hosting cleanup events in every province and territory, from iconic coastlines to roadside ditches. Shoreline Cleanup volunteers work wherever land connects to water. These efforts improve the environment while building a societal understanding that we are all connected through our waterways.

Shoreline Cleanup is uniquely accessible to groups large and small. The first step is to visit shorelinecleanup.ca. Once the website determines your location, it will show prospective cleanup locations nearby. Simply choose a location and select a date for your cleanup. Individuals can sign-up, but the effort is more effective (and more fun!) when family, friends, or co-workers are invited to join in. Your team’s organizer will receive information from the local municipality regarding rules for disposal of the waste once it’s collected. Some municipalities even make supplies such as bags, gloves, and trash pickers available to cleanup groups.

Shoreline Cleanup Is Not Just Cleaning Up

It may be surprising to learn that when you join the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, you’re not just picking up waste—you’re participating in a citizen science project. Organized cleanups are designed so that, item by item, data is collected and entered into a national database, as well as an international database maintained by the International Coastal Cleanup by Ocean Conservancy. The public can use the database to see where cleanups have been conducted and what types of materials were found. Environmental organizations and communities can use the same information to help push for changes that help preserve and improve the environment.

Although cleanups are available to participate in year-round and nationwide, Shoreline Cleanup makes a special effort on several days each year, including World Environment Day (Tuesday, June 5th this year) and International Oceans Day. International Coastal Cleanup Day is held annually, the third Saturday in September, and it’s the focus of major events at Iona Beach in Richmond. The team also hosts a major cleanup event at a location in Ontario each year.

How Can Your Business Participate in Shoreline Cleanup?

Groups of every size can participate in Shoreline Cleanup, although many businesses have found that it makes a great employee bonding activity for the whole company. The shorelinecleanup.ca website makes it easy to find a location near your company, although some companies have specifically chosen locations that allow their staff to get away from home for a day—the journey to the location can be a team building experience in itself. The website provides all the information your business will need to organize your event.

Your company can also participate by providing financial support. Funding for Shoreline Cleanup comes from corporate partners. To learn how to participate in that way, email shorelinecleanup@ocean.org. Local businesses can also offer support to cleanups in their local areas.

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is a joint initiative of the Vancouver office of Ocean Wise and WWF Canada. The program has staff in Vancouver and Toronto. You can follow the Shoreline Cleanup for news and information about events on Twitter or visit the Facebook page. It’s inspiring to see how the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup shows year by year that a small effort close to home really can help change the world.