A Halifax-based preservation group says there is a shocking amount of garbage collecting on the beach on Lawlors Island and unresolved questions about where it's coming from.

It’s a short ride boat ride from Eastern Passage to Lawlors Island. Deer jump in a green field metres away from where garbage is collecting on the shore.

Cathy McCarthy, the president of the Friends of McNabs Island Society, and a group of volunteers have cleaned the provincial park islands in the Halifax harbour for 23 years.

This year they hauled 400 bags of garbage.

"The two things they found, the most common things, were tampon applicators and Tim Hortons coffee cups," McCarthy said.

She said the tampon plastics tell their own story.

"Those have to be coming from the sewage system somewhere," said McCarthy.

But Halifax Water Commission spokesman James Campbell denies the allegations. The water group runs the sewage treatment plants for the Halifax harbour.

"The combined overflow chambers which screen out materials when the treatment plants are operating at full capacity are all operating perfectly fine," he said.

Campbell said the applicators could be from foreign tides, littering, boaters or from garbage shoved down storm drains.

McCarthy says it’s hard for her to imagine any of those things could lead to so many floatables on the shoreline.

Both said the solution is for people to stop flushing plastics.