Don't let garbage replace wildlife

Plastic pollution is found in every single ocean – even in the sparsely populated Arctic. Scientists estimate by 2050 plastic will outnumber fish in the ocean. And our freshwater ecosystems are also at risk; the Great Lakes have a higher density of microplastics than the oceans.

Over 80 per cent of plastic pollution originates on land. This means we can take direct action and stop plastic and other litter before it enters the water, protecting wildlife and their aquatic habitats.

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup began with a simple act of caring. Concerned about the impact of litter on wildlife, a group of employees from Ocean Wise, banded together to clean the shores of Stanley Park. Since then, more than 1.2 million kilograms of garbage has been prevented from entering rivers, lakes and oceans across the country, helping to protect fish and frogs, sea birds and sea turtles.

Nearly 800,000 volunteers have cleaned 33,740 kilometres of Canada’s freshwater and marine shorelines – the equivalent of circling the Great Lakes three times – and helped make Shoreline Cleanup country’s largest volunteer-powered conservation cleanup.

What you can do

Help stop litter in its tracks

Organize a cleanup on campus or in your community for friends, classmates, student clubs, associations, teams or staff. Equipped with data cards, your volunteer team will contribute valuable information about the items found on Canada’s shores to international databases, helping support scientific research on marine and coastal pollution.

Cleanups can be any size and happen anywhere. Make it easy by asking students to drop by for a 20-minute campus cleanup between classes or an afternoon event at your local park or shoreline.

Make it your own

6 easy steps to leading a cleanup

  1. Confirm a location and date

    Select a date and location, and notify your municipality about your community cleanup (or the facilities staff regarding your campus cleanup). They can help you dispose of the collected litter after your event.
  2. Put your cleanup on the map

    Register to add your activity to the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup map. The unique event webpage generated can be shared widely with friends, classmates, floormates and instructors.
  3. Promote and share

    Create an outreach strategy that includes who to target and how to reach them. Use our posters and share your event on social. Get creative with class announcements and campus event boards. Invite student residences, clubs or varsity teams.
  4. Gather supplies and data cards

    Check with your municipality or campus facilities office about the availability of bags and gloves. Print your litter data cards and refer to the site coordinator guide and supplies checklist for tips to make your event a success.
  5. Clean and track your results

    On event day, gather your team together and pass out supplies, instructions, litter data cards and encouragement. 
  6. Celebrate and submit results

    Weigh the total kilograms of litter collected and thank everyone for their efforts. Tally results from the data cards and submit it to Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. Your results will be shared with databases to help find solutions to shoreline litter.

Why get involved

Help protect wildlife

The primary threats posed by litter to wildlife are entanglement and ingestion. You can take action to keep garbage out of their habitats with easy cleanup activities.

Team building

Use your cleanup as a team building exercise for your floor or intramural sports team. Or create a larger event and invite students, campus staff and faculty, including the president.

Build your resume

Leading a shoreline cleanup is an easy way to build your leadership skills. Organize a team to tackle litter on campus and guide them to success. Include teamwork and leadership skills and experience on your professional resume.

Living Planet Leader

Volunteering to lead a cleanup demonstrates skills and experiences towards the Leadership and Teamwork requirements for Living Planet Leader. Don’t forget to log your hours under Volunteerism.

Key Dates

October 13, 2018
October 13, 2018
October 26, 2018
November 4, 2018

Your Impact

830

Students

10

Campuses

583

KG of Litter