Cleanup crews find interesting articles

Lise Broadley, Comox Valley Echo

Published: Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Volunteers picking up trash for the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup found a number of unusual items in Courtenay and Comox last week. From shopping carts to shotgun shells, volunteers were amazed by some of the items they discovered in local waterways as they worked to clean them up.

On Friday, volunteers from the Home Depot gathered garbage from the shoreline and roadside near Dyke Road. Aside from the usual coffee cups, drink containers and plastic bags, crews also found a piece of an old steam donkey, a pair of handcuffs and a huge tooth.

“I don’t know what it came off of,” said organizer Dusty Rose, “but it was giant.”

In addition, the volunteers picked up about 5,000 cigarette butts.

Rose is an employee of Courtenay’s Home Depot and the captain of Team Depot, a group of volunteers from the store who give their time to help put with community programs. Each September, Hope Depot employees participate in the company’s Month of Service. During the month, workers across the country donate 20,000 hours to projects within their communities.

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup runs from Sept. 17 through 25 across Canada. Volunteers choose an area where the water, be it river, lake or ocean, meets the land, and gather trash that may choke the waterways and harm wildlife.

On Friday, the volunteers braved the wind, rain and traffic to pick up enough trash to fill 20 large garbage bags.

A couple of days later, volunteers from Project Watershed gathered to clean four local areas. About 40 people gathered on Sunday to pick up garbage from the Courtenay Airpark, Simms and Lewis parks and along part of the Comox shoreline. Aside from the estimated 20 large bags of garbage they collected, they also pulled six shopping carts, a sleeping bag, some old carpet and 15 feet of plastic pipe from the water.

“Things like plastic bags and sixpack holders are especially dangerous for wildlife,” said event organizer Bill Heidrick. “We would hate to see them end up in the plastic gyre.” The plastic gyre is a floating patch of garbage in the north Pacific estimated to be as large as Texas.

Heidrick said he was pleased to see people of all ages attend Sunday’s event. High school students, families with young children and individuals from different backgrounds came out to pitch in. “It was a really amazing crew,” he said.

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