A helicopter slung marine debris collected by volunteers onto a barge passing through Ucluelet on Sept. 24

Ucluelet participates in massive Island-wide debris clean up

Some of the West Coast’s most remote shorelines look a lot more pristine thanks to a massive month-long cleanup effort.

Some of the West Coast’s most remote shorelines look a lot more pristine thanks to a massive month-long cleanup effort.

Throughout August, the district of Ucluelet partnered with the Pacific Rim National Park to host five multi-day camping experiences on the Broken Group Islands where volunteer campers cleaned the wilderness around them.

Volunteers, joined by Ucluelet’s environmental and emergency services manager Karla Robison, collected roughly 15 tonnes of debris, which was consolidated into 84 supersacks and slung out by a helicopter onto a barge on Sept. 24.

The 150-foot barge, traveled throughout Vancouver Island coastlines for roughly one week, starting in late September in Cape Scott, and wound up carrying about 40 tonnes of debris to a disposal facility in Richmond, according to Robison. The project was organized by the Vancouver Island Marine Debris Working Group and has been touted as the largest marine debris cleanup effort in Vancouver Island’s history.

The enormous cleanup was funded with the remaining dollars left from a $1 million donation B.C.’s Ministry of Environment received from the Japanese Government in 2013 in an effort to deal with the driftage articles sent towards B.C. in the wake of a devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Tohoku in March 2011.

The provincial government dished the donation dollars out to the communities expected to be most impacted by tsunami debris and Ucluelet was awarded $81,538 in in 2014 and $30,000 in 2016 for shoreline cleanup efforts in the Ucluelet, Barkley Sound and the Broken Group Islands, according to Robison.

“The District of Ucluelet is pleased to participate in this unprecedented effort which would have never been possible without the generosity of the Government of Japan and the collaboration efforts from various government agencies, non-profit organizations, business partners and volunteers,” she said.

Ucluelet was one of the first communities to begin putting plans in place to address incoming tsunami debris in 2012 and the community’s early efforts were noticed by local, provincial and federal governments.

These efforts were also noticed by the Japanese Government, which sent delegates to Ucluelet several times for shoreline tours and educational events, according to Robison.

“The relations and co-operation between Japan, British Columbia and coastal communities in response to the disaster and resulting debris signify that by working collectively we can protect our shared marine environment,” she said.

“It is important to share the journey of tsunami debris—respectfully characterized as driftage articles—from the Great East Japan Earthquake. These items allow people to reflect on the tragedy that occurred on March 11, 2011 and to act as a reminder to be prepared for an earthquake and tsunami of a similar magnitude…Driftage articles also act as a stimulus to the larger discussion about the prevention and removal of ocean pollution.”

She added preserving tsunami driftage and attempting to find the rightful owners of found items is important both as a reminder for locals to be prepared and as an act of respect to Japan.

“It’s hoped that future cleanup events, displaying driftage articles, and return of these materials back to Japan may help to bring peace, fond memories and inspiration to the people of Japan and all those affected by the tragic event,” she said.

“Perhaps future displays of driftage articles will act as a memorial to remind each country of our strong bond across the ocean, the many lives affected by the tsunami, and to be prepared for emergencies.”

 

Just Posted

Tofino mayor cheers provincial government’s plastics survey

Mayors of Tofino, Victoria, Squamish and Rossland collaborate on letter.

Youth lead Ucluelet Cemetery nameplate project

Students navigate maps and scour local archives over three years to honour deceased.

Tofino awards $2.4M contract to connect path to Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

The district announced the project will be paid entirely with grants.

Semi-truck crashes on Hwy. 4 between Port Alberni and Tofino-Ucluelet

Drivers heading in or out of Tofino-Ucluelet Friday afternoon should expect delays

Clean the house, prep for your next trip: Tips to nix the post-vacation blues

48 per cent of travellers are already stressed about ‘normal life’ while still on their trip

Vancouver Island senior found safe with help from six search and rescue teams

Wayne Strilesky found safe in thick brush in north Nanaimo

More women may need breast cancer gene test, U.S. guidelines say

Recommendations aimed at women who’ve been treated for BRCA-related cancers and are now cancer-free

Couple could go to jail for taking 88 lbs. of Italian sand

Pair said they didn’t know it was illegal to take the sand, which is protected as a public good

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft: RCMP

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

VIDEO: RCMP unveil new, state-of-the-art forensics lab

The laboratory is expected to handle thousands of forensic services from across Canada annually

Scheer promises EI tax credit for new parents if Conservatives form government

The government currently taxes employment insurance benefits for new parents

Most Read