Small ship tourism operators help remove 425 tonnes of trash from B.C. coastline
B.C.'s efforts to remove trash and debris from the province's coast have netted a huge haul this year.
Throughout 2021, provincially funded groups have removed more than 425 tonnes of marine debris, including plastic bottles, Styrofoam, abandoned nets and rope, abandoned boats and other trash.
The province says that the garbage was collected from 306 kilometres of B.C. shoreline.
Between May and June, nets and ropes made up roughly 42 per cent of all debris removed from coastlines, says the province, while 60 per cent of all items collected were considered recyclable.
Much of the debris will now be sent to specialized recycling facilities, where the garbage will be converted into pellets that can be used to make new plastic products. However, some previously recyclable materials may not be eligible now depending on how much it degraded in the ocean.
The debris were removed by the Small Ship Tour Operators Association – Wilderness Tourism Association, the Ocean Legacy Foundation and the Coastal Restoration Society through funding from the province's "Clean Coast, Clean Waters" program (CCCW).
The CCCW first launched last year as a way to support the coastal tourism industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, while also improving the environment.
In total, the Small Ship Tour Operators Association employed 180 people for this summer's cleanup, including 111 tourism industry workers and 69 people from coastal Indigenous communities.
"The Clean Coast, Clean Waters initiative is about getting plastic waste and marine debris out of the water and off our shores," said B.C. Minister of Environment George Heyman in a statement Wednesday.
"It is also about creating healthier coastal communities by keeping the waste out of our landfills," he said.
The province says some Clean Coast, Clean Waters projects are still ongoing, including a cleanup project led by the Songhees Development Corporation.
The $2-million project is looking to remove 100 derelict boats from around Southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.