PEI

Islanders collect 60 bags of garbage at P.E.I. beaches

As melting snow reveals more and more garbage piled up on P.E.I. beaches, one group of Islanders came together Sunday to tidy it up.

'I thought I would kind of give back to a place that I enjoy spending time at'

Sarah Donald organized the beach cleanup. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

As melting snow reveals more and more garbage piled up on P.E.I. beaches, one group of Islanders came together Sunday to tidy it up.

More than a dozen people combed the beaches and roadways between Covehead Wharf and Dalvay beach.

In less than two hours the group collected nearly 60 garbage bags of trash, filling the back of a pickup truck that hauled it away.

Sarah Donald, who organized the cleanup, said she's been going to beaches to pick up garbage almost every Sunday for the last few months. As the snow melted she noticed more garbage building up along the shoreline and put out a call for volunteers.

"I've always really loved the area," Donald said. "I like to come to the beach here and go on hikes, so I thought I would kind of give back to a place that I enjoy spending time at."

More than a dozen people helped with the beach cleanup over the weekend. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

The most common things found are coffee cups, water bottles, plastic bags and aluminum cans, Donald said.

She said after seeing how much of this garbage piles up along the shoreline it's made her rethink the products she uses and hopes the cleanup will help others do the same.

Really puts it in perspective

Ethan Van Gaal was one of the volunteers. He said the most shocking part of the experience was the amount of garbage the group was able to collect in such a short period of time. 

"Driving around you don't really see that amount of garbage, but once you get looking for it and start picking it up you'd be surprised how much you find," he said. "[It] really puts it in perspective how much garbage is actually out there."

A volunteer tosses a bag of trash into the pack of a pickup truck. About 60 bags of trash were collected over the weekend. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

Van Gaal said participating in a cleanup is a good way to encourage others to start paying attention to the impact the products they use have on the environment.

"This is something that my neighbourhood needs in the ditches, in the fields. It can be done anywhere."

Making it a good habit

Many of the volunteers said they want to make collecting trash a regular habit when going to the beach. 

Noah Stewart, who was also volunteering, said beyond the amount of trash collected the most surprising thing about the experience was how easy it was to do once everyone worked together.

"I plan on doing this wherever I go," Stewart said. "I actually think more people should be doing this. This is awesome. I'm actually having a great time. It feels good."

Many of the volunteers said after helping out with the cleanup they want to make collecting trash a regular habit when going to the beach. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

Donald said she plans to keep visiting beaches every weekend with a garbage bag in hand ready to pick up any garbage she finds.

More P.E.I. news

About the Author

Brittany Spencer is a multi-platform journalist with CBC P.E.I. Email: brittany.spencer@cbc.ca

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.