Thousands of kilograms of debris, including styrofoam, plastic bottles, nets, rope, abandoned boats and tires, have been removed from B.C.’s shoreline as several Clean Coast, Clean Waters (CCCW) projects wrap up their operations.
Most of the debris collected is recyclable and will be sent for processing at the Ocean Legacy Foundation, which is also undertaking a CCCW clean-up project of its own. Marine debris needs to be processed in a specialized facility, as much of the material recovered has degraded due to the time it has spent in the ocean. The marine debris is transformed into pellets that can be used to create new plastic products. It is important to recycle and repurpose this material as much as possible to keep it out of landfills.
“The Clean Coast, Clean Waters initiative is about getting plastic waste and marine debris out of the water and off our shores,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “It is also about creating healthier coastal communities by keeping the waste out of our landfills. The work by our partners to reclaim, recycle and reprocess plastics is part of the CleanBC pathway to a healthier environment and a better future for people in our province.”
Projects undertaken by the Small Ship Tour Operators Association – Wilderness Tourism Association, the Ocean Legacy Foundation and the Coastal Restoration Society (which is still underway) have removed more than 425 tonnes of marine debris so far this year. It builds on last year’s work, bringing the total to more than 550 tonnes.
The CCCW initiative is part of the CleanBC Plastics Action Plan. Its goal is to address plastic pollution. The initiative also is part of B.C.’s $10-billion COVID-19 response, which includes StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan. StrongerBC protects people’s health and livelihoods, while supporting businesses and communities.
Kelly Greene, Parliamentary Secretary of Environment –
“We’ve had great success with the Clean Coast, Clean Waters initiative. These results show the power of partnership. I’m proud of the work done by these organizations and their Indigenous partners, and our government will continue to work toward curbing the ongoing issue of plastics pollution.”
Chloé Dubois, co-founder and president, Ocean Legacy Foundation –
“The Clean Coast, Clean Waters initiative is a historic moment for coastal communities and the environment. It has set a precedent not only in British Columbia, but for Canada. Ocean Legacy is thrilled and grateful to have this opportunity to work with communities in building economic opportunities to create cleaner oceans and provide innovative recycling opportunities for ocean plastics.”
Josh Temple, executive director, Coastal Restoration Society –
“This funding is an important initial step forward toward transformative First Nations, industry and government collaboration. We know that we do better, stronger and more meaningful work together, and that work must continue as we address the dual challenges of marine pollution and climate change.”
A backgrounder follows.