On a cool, Saturday morning in October, thirty-two people, many of them strangers to one another, gathered at a lakeside park, Richard’s Memorial, to participate in an annual fall cleanup event. Over the years I have organized many such events, spring and fall, as part of the national initiative, The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.

Data collection is an important aspect of any cleanup organized through The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, and as they fanned out along the shoreline and park area, participants carried clipboards and data cards to record the items collected.  The yearly accumulated information from all cleanups, coast to coast to coast, is shared with policymakers, businesses, schools and the general public. This data helps to inform decisions on legislation, waste management procedures, and best practices to protect our natural environments.

Some of the data collected at Richard’s Memorial Park this time include the following:

Plastic Bottles: 42, Cigarette Butts: 480, Small Plastic Pieces:920. 

Participants also recorded and collected coffee cups, soft drink or alcohol bottles and cans, food wrappers, bottle caps, pens, lighters, tires, balloons, diapers, shoes, toys and foam packaging.  None of these items or the amounts collected comes as a surprise to me, because I have been cleaning up around my neighbourhood streets and parks for several years, and am known as Trash Walking Moms.  I hope that the cleanup served as a wakeup call to individuals, and will encourage them to act in small ways to either change their consumption habits or to pick up and properly dispose of some litter, wherever they happen to encounter it. Please follow me on Facebook @Trash Walking Moms to learn more about what you can do to fight litter.