Sweeping beaches of butts and other trash is a Canada-wide craze that washes ashore routinely in Oak Bay.
The organizing group Community Association of Oak Bay utilizes resources through the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup that takes back the information gathered during beach cleans across the nation.
“We do surveys for them on everything we pick up, from cigarette butts to lawn chairs to dead porpoises we’ve cleaned up,” said organizer Joseph Blake. “I collate all of those things and send that to the group in Vancouver.”
Most of the finds are small, he says, like cigarette butts and bits of junk.
“Lots of plastic. It’s amazing how much plastic is in the ocean,” he said.
Routinely members of the board of the CAOB make up the main clean-up component, some bring their small families.
“Little kids are good at this. It’s a good thing to think about,” Blake said.
“We’re interested in the community of Oak Bay in general. I think we all agree that Oak Bay’s shoreline natural history is probably the most important thing in Oak Bay; maybe the trees are more important. It’s home to a lot of animals and it’s home to a lot of history.”
The annual clean-up takes one or two hours depending on what kind of turnout they get.
“One year it was storming and only three or four of us turned up. Another year election fever was brewing and politicians and Greenies of all stripe turned up,” Blake said.
“Hope some of them revisit our effort this year. We only have one environment to take care of, and this little bit of the coast where we live is pretty heavenly still.”
Dependent on the numbers they group could extend the cleanup further east and west, as time permits.
Bring garbage bags, rubber gloves, rubber boots and weather-appropriate clothing.
The Community Association of Oak Bay annual shoreline cleanup at McNeill Bay is Sept. 10 at 9 a.m.
Visit shorelinecleanup.ca to learn more about how to register an event.