SOURCE: Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup

September 20, 2013 09:00 ET

Now in Its 20th Year, the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup Continues Its Fight Against Harmful Shoreline Litter

VANCOUVER, BC and TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - September 20, 2013) - Celebrating 20 years of shoreline revitalization, the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, presented by Loblaw Companies Limited, launches its annual fall cleanup from September 21 to 29, 2013. A joint initiative of the Vancouver Aquarium and WWF-Canada, the Shoreline Cleanup is Canada's largest direct action conservation initiative, mobilizing more than 42,000 Canadians at over 1,400 cleanup sites throughout the country. 

"Volunteers throughout Canada are banding together to battle the issue of shoreline litter, which is still a major threat to our waterways, even with 20 years of cleanups behind us," says Jill Dwyer, manager of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. "Thanks to the work of a half million volunteers throughout our history, we've made headway in cleaning our shorelines, but the amount of litter that continues to plague our waterways indicates that shoreline litter is still a serious environmental issue."

During its 20-year history, a whopping 500,000 Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup volunteers -- enough people to fill Toronto's Rogers Centre, or Vancouver's BC Place, more than nine times -- cleaned roughly 21,775 kilometres worth of shorelines -- the equivalent length of crossing Canada three times end to end between Vancouver, B.C. to St. John's, N.L., and collected approximately 1.2 million kilograms of shoreline litter -- the approximate weight of 259 school buses.

Although these figures reflect the hard work and commitment of volunteers who have scrubbed their local shorelines year after year, they are also a sober reflection of how much work there is left to do to clean up our waterways. Last year, more than 57,000 registered volunteers cleaned 3,102 kilometres of shorelines, collecting over 136,000 kilograms of debris -- the approximate weight of 30 large school buses. The most widely collected litter items included: plastic and paper bags, cigarettes/cigarette filters, food wrappers and containers, caps and lids, glass and plastic beverage bottles, beverage cans, disposable flatware, straws/stirrers, tobacco packaging, and building materials.

Shoreline litter is a serious environmental issue in Canada -- and worldwide. Its effects are far-reaching -- from entangling and choking wildlife, to being ingested by wild animals, to negatively impacting water quality and cleanliness. For example, during last year's cleanup, 45 animals were found entangled, including 22 fish, ten birds (including gulls, swans, and heron), and even a fox. Shoreline litter can also pose safety risks to humans, and cause disruptions or imbalances within the local ecosystem. 

"We are thrilled to be the presenting sponsor of this national conservation initiative through our charge-for-plastic shopping bag program in stores," says Bob Chant, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Communication, Loblaw Companies Limited. "The Shoreline Cleanup is a great way for Canadians and our store colleagues to make a positive impact in their community for a better planet." 

Shoreline litter negatively impacts wildlife and communities, and its effect is far-reaching, but the good news is that there is tangible action that can be taken to combat this issue in local communities. This fall's cleanup marks an annual event, and Shoreline Cleanup is still calling for volunteers to join existing cleanups taking place throughout the week. Registering is easy -- simply visit ShorelineCleanup.ca, or volunteers can also drop by any public cleanup listed on the website that is still seeking help.

To commemorate Shoreline Cleanup's 20th anniversary, there will also be 20 specially designated public shoreline cleanups marked by 20-themed recognition held across the country in various communities, including Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, Montreal, Halifax, Edmonton, Prince Rupert, Repulse Bay, Oakville, Stratford, Uculuet, Whitehorse, Kelowna, Campbell River, Regina, Hamilton, Goderich, Grand-Métis, Winnipeg, and St. John's.

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is grateful for the support of its sponsors, including Loblaw Companies Limited as the presenting sponsor, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation as provincial sponsor in Ontario, and Vancouver Airport Authority as provincial sponsor in British Columbia. Shoreline Cleanup also acknowledges the financial assistance provided by the Province of British Columbia.

About the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup
The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, presented by Loblaw Companies Limited, is one of the largest direct action conservation programs in Canada. A conservation initiative of the Vancouver Aquarium and WWF, the Shoreline Cleanup aims to promote understanding of shoreline litter issues by engaging Canadians to rehabilitate shoreline areas through cleanups. www.ShorelineCleanup.ca

About the Vancouver Aquarium
The Vancouver Aquarium is a non-profit society dedicated to the conservation of aquatic life.
www.vanaqua.org

About WWF
WWF is creating solutions to the most serious conservation challenges facing our planet, helping people and nature thrive. www.wwf.ca

About Loblaw Companies Limited
Loblaw Companies Limited, a subsidiary of George Weston Limited, is Canada's largest food retailer and a leading provider of drugstore, general merchandise and financial products and services. www.loblaw.ca

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