Rocky coast or sandy beaches, in British Columbia the shorelines have a reputation for being pristine and breathtaking.
Tourism usually thrives in the areas where lush forests meet the Pacific Ocean, with hiking, kayaking, boating, and whale watching among the popular activities. But that hasn’t been the case this summer with the coronavirus pandemic shutting down much of the tourism in the region.
Instead, members of the tourism industry are pivoting towards fighting plastic pollution and waste on the shorelines in the biggest coastal clean-up initiative ever undertaken in the province.
The project, called the BC Coastal Clean-Up is part of the larger Marine Debris Removal Initiative is funded by the province’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and brings together the Clean Coast, Clean Waters Initiative Fund, members of the Small Ship Operators Association and members of other tourism industry associations.
Staying close to home, the initiative has the approval of local indigenous leaders and provides meaningful jobs for many local tour guides, tour boat ship operators, local companies, and communities during a time when business is at an all-time low.
The locally powered large scale project plans to sweep across as much as 1000 kilometers of coastline, most of which is along the iconic Great Bear Rainforest. The calls for action when it comes to waste and pollution along the coast have been building up for years in the province and the time to act has finally come in full force.
Already two weeks into the planned six-week endeavor, the crews have found waste that includes Styrofoam, water bottles, fishing equipment, and much more. Teams are filling more and more giant bags with plastic pollution and the estimate is that the project will collect and remove seventy-five to one hundred tons of waste along the northern coast.
An unprecedented initiative for unprecedented times, the project is a beam of hope when it comes to the environmental issues that we are facing today in our own backyards and worldwide.
Check out the hashtag #BCCostalCleanUp to follow the progress of the initiative.