No ifs, ands or butts about keeping our shores clean

Colwood shores cleared of cigarette buts by Juan de Fuca Power and Sail Squadron volunteers

  • Sep. 21, 2012 7:00 p.m.

Some of the thousands of cigarette butts gleaned for the Coburg Peninsula last weekend.

Clean water, protecting marine life, and the responsibility of the citizen are what Charlotte Gorley hopes to promote by tackling litter on the shoreline.

On Saturday, Sept. 16, Gorley and 25 volunteers set forth to clean up the shoreline of the Coburg Peninsula in Colwood. This effort was one of many across the country through the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup and the  third year for Gorley’s team, Juan de Fuca Power and Sail Squadron.

The non-profit group promotes safe and responsible boating and the national cleanup reflects the values of the organization, Gorley said.

“We saw an opportunity to have a land-based event, and thought that this was a good fit.”

The focus this year was cigarette butts. In two hours, Gorley’s team collected more than 7,000 of them.

“We’d find clumps of cigarette butts, which makes us think that people are emptying their ashtrays on the beach,” she said.

Another main area of concern is fast food wrappers and containers, but just about anything can turn up on the shoreline. Along with cups, bottles, cans, plastic bags, and discarded clothing items, this year’s cleanup revealed a 33-pound pail of roofing tar. In total, the cleanup crew picked up 90 pounds and 16 garbage bags of waste.

This year, Gorley’s team took advantage of the free services at TerraCycle, an organization that collects traditionally non-recyclable items and converts them into new products and materials. This means that the collected waste won’t see a landfill anytime soon.

People must become more aware of keeping the environment clean, said Gorley. “If you take food to the beach with you, make sure to bring it with you when you leave.”

Gorley added that cleaning up doesn’t have to be limited to one day a year.

“Most of us, on our own, take time during the day to cleanup,” she said.


The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup became a national program in 2002. The program provides Canadians the opportunity to cleanup their communities, and boasted over 20, 000 nationwide by the year 2003. To get involved, visit



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