Cleanup nets tonnes of plastics, marine gear, polystyrene and more (flickr.com)

Media Contacts

Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy

Media Relations
250 953-3834

Wilderness Tourism Association

admin@wilderness-tourism.bc.ca
250 655-4103

Backgrounders

Facts about marine debris removal

About the project:

  • The Small Ship Tour Operators Association of B.C. (SSTOA) and Wilderness Tourism Association of B.C. worked with the support of several coastal Indigenous Nations: the Wuikinuxv, Nuxalk, Heiltsuk, Kitasoo/Xai’xais, and Gitga’at.
  • The project included a fleet of nine ships and 17 skiffs, employing 111 SSTOA crew members and 69 members of First Nations communities.
  • Two 21-day expeditions took place between Aug. 18 and Sept. 28, 2020, along 540.5 kilometres of the outer shorelines of B.C.’s central coast and Queen Charlotte Sound.
  • Collectively, 127,060 kilograms (1,029 cubic metres) of beach-cast marine debris were collected from 401 sites and removed by helicopter, tug and barge.
  • More than half the debris collected consisted of derelict fishing gear. The rest consisted of polystyrene foam, marine goods (fuel cans, buckets, pipes, etc.), consumer goods (beverage/food containers, tires, clothes, appliances, etc.), hard plastics and metals.

Generally:

  • Globally, it has been estimated that more than 20 million tonnes of plastic waste enter aquatic ecosystems every year.
  • In 2019, the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup removed 163,505 kilograms of shoreline debris in Canada, an increase of 47,076 kilograms over 2018.
  • Slightly less than half of the collected debris in Canada in 2019 was removed from B.C. shorelines (77,836 kilograms).