Let’s get this in perspective: There are 1.5-2 million lakes in Canada.
There are more than 250,000 rivers.
In the US, the National River Cleanup Program™ had more than 1 million people involved and they removed at least 13 million pounds of trash. It’s possible their rivers and shorelines are more affected because of 10 times the population, this is true, and most of our rivers and lakes are not accessible, however, our communities, where there is water, need some love.
An example of a community dedicated to it’s shore lines is in Texas
Don’t Mess with Texas (and their shorelines!) the headlines reads! They have a MARINE DEBRIS PROGRAM, THIS ARTICLE IS BY Kim Albins
“Texans take pride in their coastline and have had an active 2014 clean-up season so far. From Galveston Bay to the southern end of the Padre Island National Seashore; more than 10,000 volunteers dedicated their time to remove TONS of marine debris!”
Buzz Botts of the National Park Service in Padre Island said:
“As impressive as the stats are, keep in mind that the park has nearly 70 miles of beach. That means there are about 55 more miles of beach that has not been cleaned and has hundreds more tons of debris scattered across it. No one can come here and not go away amazed at the sheer amounts of trash floating in the world’s oceans.”
This is a shout out and an inspirational call to action!
The blog post is here:
Step 1: Choose a Site
When you find a shore line that needs some attention and love, walk a bit to see if the area is accessible for a group to come in and clean up on mass
If you need some help figuring out where to a good cleanup site is, contact your local watershed, ocean/shoreline, river or lake associations.
If it’s on Public or private land you will need permission or a permit.
With private landowners, focus on the positives of your cleanup. Explain that you want to improve the environment and participants will be respectful of the property.
Step 2: Choose a Day and Time
Weekends are normally best for water cleanups. You should pick a date at least a month in advance so you have time to prepare and recruit. The length of cleanup is up to you – a few hours, a half-day, or an all-day event with lunch.
Arrange for Trash and Recycling Removal
This could be with your city or municipality, a local trash service
- Tell them about your project and explain that it’s a volunteer community service effort.
- Ask if they want to sponsor the effort by hauling away the garbage for free or at a discounted price.
- Ask about proper disposal of special/hazardous materials
- If They Say "No," Recruit Volunteers with Pickup Trucks: in which case you will find out the location of the nearest dump and recycling center.
You want to recruit lots of volunteers for your cleanup. The more people you have, the greater your impact! To recruit, consider:
- Asking friends, families, neighbors, co-workers, community groups and environmental organizations to get involved
- Post the event on line, such as on fb
- Get local media coverage to get local people involved; that means you need to draft a press release
- Reaching out to appropriate local businesses that pride themselves on local involvement and giving back to post your event
- Ask canoe/kayak clubs to hand out flyers and post the event in their news letters
- Check the weather for the day. If there is any chance for heavy rain or severe weather you should postpone your cleanup.
- Fully charge your cell phone before leaving home! Volunteers, reporters, VIPs and vendors may need to reach you throughout the day.
- Prepare a little speach to kick off the event as well as to conclude the day.
- It’s a good idea that a few of you arrive at least an hour before the scheduled start time.
- Post directional signs for the event at intersections along the way, so participants can easily locate it.
- Make parking easy. Be sure to scout out potential parking areas for participants.
- Check to make sure the area is safe, look out for any possible hazards.
- Look for a safe place for people who will be helping from boats put-in and take-out.
- Set up a check-in station, with media and volunteer sign-in sheets.
- Create an acknowledgement-of-risk statement that each participant will sign upon check-in
- Establish a base of operations, near your check-in area, with Water and other refreshments
- Go over the schedule for the day
- Assign a cleanup supervisor in case people come across hazardous or dangerous sharp objects or leaking batteries for example, so that the volunteers avoid picking up those things
- Have on hand the following:
- Extra pairs of sturdy work gloves, in various sizes
- First aid and safety
- Trash bags and cleanup supplies
- Life jackets, and perhaps extra paddles, for boaters
- Flyers, fact sheets, “health” status of the river and any other information relevant to your effort
- If you are collecting both trash and recyclables, make sure each volunteer has a bag for each. This will save time at the end of the day.
- call ahead to confirm the commercial garbage collector or catering service will arrive on time if you are using them
- Emphasize safety!
- Make sure everyone has a map of the area and knows where to focus
At the end of the cleanup, be sure:
- To separate all the trash from recycling (steel, aluminum, plastics, glass, etc.). Pay attention for materials that might need special disposal.
- To organize the identified commercial waste disposal service or volunteers with pickup trucks to haul all the materials.
When your cleanup is finished, it’s time to celebrate! Have a picnic, cookout or lunch for volunteers,
St. Lawrence River http://www.mddep.gouv.qc.ca/eau/flrivlac/fleuve_en.htm