The beach clean-up blues

‘Marine debris’ is a posttsunami ‘tag’. In actuality,

‘marine debris’ is nothing more than basic ‘human stuff’ that has been ever increasing over the years.

Years ago, we would head out along the beaches, picking up things that had a certain ‘cachet’ to adorn a weekend makeshift fort. With a permanent move to the West Coast, ‘beach combing’ /foraging, has evolved to a new level.

I walk the beaches, three to four times a week, mostly in Pacific Rim National Park.

In the beginning, I was pulling various pieces of Styrofoam, plastics, rope, and other manmade items, above the high-tide line; thinking that they would be salvaged by the annual ‘clean-up’ program.

To my dismay, the garbage was still there, long after the ‘spring sweep’.

It has now been two years of picking up one to two garbage bags each time I go for my five kilometer -walk. On the weekends, my husband joins me and we average four to five bags. Sometimes, its Styrofoam skewered to an end of a stick, other times it is a water barrel that gets rolled to a safe pick up area.

There is a certain level of satisfaction, knowing that each chunk of plastic, bucket, rope, and foam bits is no longer part of the yearly garbage ‘ebb and flow’. I label all my bags with a Canada Flag.

Last year, it was a ‘Happy Face’. In most cases, the bags were hauled to designated ‘Marine Debris’ drop locations.

There are stretches of beach which are quite onerous to haul oversized items. In those instances, we made large piles and notified Parks Canada Administration.

The sad part, as alluded to earlier, the piles were overlooked.

One particular site was subject to a ‘winter storm’ which dislodged everything back into the ocean.

In the scheme of things, I am not looking for accolades. I did, however, approach the Park Administration with the details of where the various drop-off locations are.

In the same communication, I intimated that a ‘Yearly Family Park Pass’ would go a long way to recognizing the hours put into collecting garbage off the beaches.

To that end, I have been unsuccessful. I will not stop doing what I feel is important but a gesture, as simple as that, would be so easy.

I am not interested, in another media release, outlining the arduous efforts that Parks Canada had embarked on, to clean the beaches.

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