Nova Scotia

'Trash mob' greets cruise ship passengers in Sydney

Cruise ship passengers who stopped in Sydney, N.S., were greeted by some trashy fashion Monday. The "trash mob" sought to spread awareness about the environmental impact of single-use plastic.

Activists wore costumes fashioned from trash to push for municipal plastics ban

Sheila Christie, left, Scott Sharplin, middle, and Suzi Oram-Aylward, right, wore costumes made of trash to push for a municipal ban on single-use plastics. (Brent Kelloway/CBC)

Cruise ship passengers in Sydney, N.S., were greeted by some trashy fashion on Monday.

A "trash mob" of people wearing costumes fashioned from plastic trash met passengers from the cruise ship MS Zaandam on the boardwalk, hoping to spread awareness about the environmental impact of single-use plastics.

Scott Sharplin, a professor at Cape Breton University, organized the event.

He's spearheading a petition to get the Cape Breton Regional Municipality to ban single-use plastics by next year.

More than 500 people have signed the petition so far, some from overseas.

Cape Breton University professor Scott Sharplin says more than 500 people have signed a petition asking the Cape Breton Regional Municipality to ban single-use plastics by 2020. (Brent Kelloway/CBC)

"This isn't something to deal with once a year on Earth Day, or when you hear about some garbage pickup. This is a crisis," said Sharplin.

The members of the trash mob wore plastic bags, food containers, and other pieces of single-use plastic as a way to catch the attention of locals and visitors alike.

The group paraded up the boardwalk in downtown Sydney, collecting litter and handing out pamphlets with information about the impact of plastic and suggestions for ways the municipality could take action.

Cruise passengers chatted with members of the group, many wandering off clutching a pamphlet.

"We just want to promote awareness and then if people do want to take action, if they want to sign the petition, that's great," said Sharplin.

The mob planned to move from the boardwalk up to city hall to try and intercept some councillors.

Sheila Christie and Scott Sharplin pick up some garbage during Monday's trash mob. (Brent Kelloway/CBC)

Sheila Christie, a member of the trash mob, said they want to show people in positions of authority that the public cares about the issues surrounding single-use plastics.

"The long-term consequences are so severe, and we don't have a lot of time left and the youth need to see us trying to make a difference," said Christie.

The event came one day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a ban on single-use plastics by 2021.

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