British Columbia

Surfers to clean up container debris on Vancouver Island

The Pacific Rim Chapter of Surfrider — an environmental group with a large contingent of surfers — will spend this weekend cleaning up the beaches in Pacific Rim National Park after debris from shipping containers washed up.

Dozens of volunteers will sift sand for styrofoam bits at Pacific Rim National Park this weekend

People walk near a large chunk of a broken shipping container. Debris from containers lost at sea has washed up on Long Beach near Tofino. (Paul Freimuth/Ukeedaze)

Debris from shipping containers, including styrofoam and sheets of metal, has washed up on beaches of the west coast of Vancouver Island.

To do their part, the Pacific Rim Chapter of Surfrider — an environmental group with a large contingent of surfers — will spend this weekend cleaning up the beaches in Pacific Rim National Park.

"It's a tough task ... there are lots of styrofoam and small pieces of plastic that are washing up on our shore," chair Michelle Hall told All Points West host Robyn Burns. "It takes time, but our volunteers are always geared up for the challenge, and I think that will make a great impact this weekend."

46 volunteers have signed up to help clean up what Hall says are almost 20 contaminated sites.

Hall says the contamination comes from 35 lost shipping containers that fell off the vessel Hanjin Seattle earlier in November.

The volunteers will focus on small pieces of debris, sifting the sand for styrofoam bits. Larger pieces will require heavy equipment to move, and Hall expects Parks Canada will handle that.

Hall says anyone who wishes to join the effort, beginning at Schooner Cove parking lot on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. PT, should bring wet weather gear, a cup for hot drinks and "lots of stoke."

With files from CBC Radio One's All Points West


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