Spring seems to have finally sprung in the northern hemisphere and that can only mean one thing—it’s time for spring cleaning. While “spring cleanin g” conjures up images of opening windows, sweeping dust, and letting the sunshine in, it’s also a good excuse to give the planet some love. We highly encourage you to get out in your local community for an hour or two this spring and make it your mission to give your favourite park, beach, or forest some much needed TLC.
Our Positive Planet has been hosting cleanup events in a few Canadian cities over the past month in hopes of encouraging our readers & writers to do their part to make our planet a little more waste free. So far, we’ve had a beach cleanup in Vancouver and Halifax, and I hosted a park cleanup in Ottawa this past weekend.
If you are in the Halifax area, Our Positive Planet is hosting another Beach Cleanup on May 20th at 11 AM at Raven Haven Beach in Cow Bay. See the Facebook event here.
I hosted the Our Positive Planet cleanup in Ottawa this past weekend at Britannia Park and I came away with two major thoughts: (1) on a positive note, the beach portion of Britannia Park was surprisingly clean, but (2) we found an alarming number of single-use containers discarded along walking paths in the park.
The primary forms of waste that we found on the beach and along the water’s edge were bottle caps and hair elastics. This suggests beach visitors understand that they should dispose of or take away any of the larger garbage they bring with them to the beach. Unfortunately, small pieces of waste, such as bottle caps and hair elastics, are also detrimental to aquatic ecosystems, as wildlife can mistake them for food. We were happy that we were able to clean up this waste before the ice melted and they get swept into the Ottawa River.
The largest piece of waste we found on the beach was a tarp stuck in the sand (see picture below), which we ended up having to call 3-1-1 about. Hopefully the city has come out and cleaned that up!
As mentioned above, we did find an alarming number of single-use containers discarded along the walking paths, particularly in the form of coffee cups. While I can appreciate the convenience of stopping at Tim’s or Starbucks for coffee, I find it hard to understand why these cups are improperly discarded once the beverage has been consumed. Next time you stop for a quick coffee, bring your own reusable mug or thermos—I promise, the barista will have no problem serving you coffee in that instead of a paper cup! This is an example of a social behaviour we can only solve by leading by example. Therefore, I encourage you to be that “strange” person who brings their own thermos to Tim’s, and hopefully by doing so you will give the person in line beside you the courage to do the same.
Happy Spring Cleaning!
Have you participated in any cleanups this spring? What were your biggest takeaways?
Latest posts by Michelle Massart (see all)
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