60,000 Canadians Gather Along The Coastline For An Incredible Cause

canadian littering issue

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is the biggest environmental direct action initiative in Canada. In one day 27,659 people were able to collect 86,000 POUNDS of litter, a major highlight of last year’s cleanup.


The 21st annual Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup started in late September and by the end of October, nearly 60,000 Canadians will have joined the cause. Tens of thousands of Canucks from six cities gather along the 125,000 mile Canadian coastline, the longest in the world, to clear out litter and clean their local beaches.

canadians cleaning up their beaches
Image via Montreal Mom
toronto kickoff of great canadian shoreline cleanup
Image via Aqua Blog

The idea started in Vancouver in 1994 with only a few people cleaning up a local beach, and by 2002 the initiative gained status as a national program. In provinces and territories all over Canada people were coming to take action, and just one year later there were more than 20,000 volunteers.

The impact of the humble beginnings has clearly inspired tons of people to get involved. Currently the movement is the biggest environmental direct action initiative in the country. Just last year 27,659 people were able to collect 86,000 pounds of litter in just one day. If just a fraction of those people helped cleanup every weekend, or even a couple of times a month, coastline litter could be eliminated altogether!

soldiers cleaning up beach
Image via The Daily Observer: Canada
shore cleanup, kids participated
Image via WWF Canada

The litter draped across the beach often comes from people blatantly throwing their junk onto the sand, but indirectly, many more people are responsible for massive amounts of coastline trash. The most common items found include cigarette butts, food wrappers, plastic bags, food utensils, bottles, cans and construction materials. The litter and debris thrown on land travels by wind, often hundreds of miles, to the coastline and into the water, harming and killing birds and aquatic life.

beach litter
Image via Coastal Care
debris on the beach, manmade issue
Image via Canadian Geographic
tons of trash on beach
Image via Canadian Wildlife Federation: Water Pollution

The mission of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is extremely effective because it raises awareness for environmental issues and encourages everyone to get involved. Volunteers can bring their entire families to help and they’re encouraged to go green the entire year by recycling, reusing, and donating unwanted items. You can actually see the difference you’ve made in just one day, making the reward of helping that much greater.

Image via WWF Canada

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