VICTORIA -- It is being called a shocking display of disregard for the environment and an act of complete carelessness.

Piles of beer cans, cigarette butts and used toilet paper were left after a party on Middle Beach in Tofino. All of it was left for someone else to clean-up, say local residents.

On Monday, Tourism Tofino and an organization that dedicates countless hours to cleaning up the community’s pristine beaches condemned the actions of those responsible.

On July 25, Natalie Attwell was on a run when she came across the mess left on Middle Beach.

“There was definitely a party there,” said Attwell.

She went on to say there were piles of trash everywhere.

“There was a ton of empties, cigarette butts everywhere, I couldn’t even begin to count how many empties were down there,” she said. “It was ridiculous.”

The Surfrider Foundation, which has spent the last five years removing more than 50 tons of beach junk from the shores of Tofino, is now voicing their disappointment in the actions of a few.

“We need people to be doing the right thing,” said Lilly Woodbury, Surfrider chapter manager for Surfrider Foundation Pacific Rim.

“We need to put in a little bit of effort to not pollute,” she said.

The foundation says that news of the mess has become the talk of the town, as it was shared everywhere on social media. Now, the leftover garbage has made a lot of people in the community upset.

“We’re in a plastics crisis, a waste crisis, a climate crisis, we’re in a pandemic,” said Woodbury. “We need to choose which side of history we are going to be on – and I can tell you right now, we need as many of us choosing to be part of the solution.”

During Phase 3 of B.C.’s restart plan, Tofino has seen a lot of local travellers coming to it’s picturesque beaches. According to Nancy Cameron, executive director of Tourism Tofino, July tourism numbers are just slightly shy of 2019 statistics.

“Whenever there’s an incident like the garbage on the beach – or a big campfire and parties on the beach – and people don’t take their garbage with them and leave no trace, we’re very disappointed,” said Cameron.

Many hope that the negative attention that this particular mess has garnered will turn into a teachable moment for everyone moving forward.

“The people who have done it, they know who they are,” said Woodbury. “This is hopefully going to be a lesson that they are going to learn from and they’re going to do better.”

“Everyone makes mistakes, but we do need to learn from them and go forward in a better way,” she said. 

It’s unclear if whoever left the mess were local residents or visitors.