Harrison residents getting involved in annual beach clean up

Shoreline litter emits toxins into water supply, says Janne Perrin

It’s been a busy summer, and the time to clean up the beach is upon us.

The Miami River Streamkeeper Society, with support of Harrison Communities in Bloom and the Village of Harrison Hot Springs, is hosting a Great Canadian Shoreline Clean up again this year.

The public is invited to participate in this clean up on Sat., Sept. 15 from 10 a.m. to noon. The date is a week earlier than usual but travel plans by the coordinator eliminated a later date. Please consider helping out before going to the Agassiz Fall Fair.

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is about removing shoreline litter to help create healthy waters for everyone, including the wildlife and communities that depend on them. Shoreline litter is one of the biggest threats to our lakes, rivers, estuaries, oceans and other waterways. The toxins emitted from litter affect water quality. Broken glass, sharp debris and cans pose a threat to safety and can affect the natural beauty and appearance of the shorelines. The tourism industry in Canada promotes beautiful public spaces as one way to bring in visitors.

Harrison is a tourist destination with great potential. Keeping our beaches clean is one way to promote our area. The Village crew and many residents pick up litter daily but still more appears. The Harrison Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is about educating the public and showing civic pride for a clean community. Residents have the opportunity to support the health of our lake’s fragile ecosystems by removing and preventing shoreline litter.

Most shoreline litter originates from land and land-based activities. In 2011, approximately 90 per cent of the trash removed from Canadian shorelines came from smoking and shoreline recreational related activities.

The top five 2011 litter items in Canada were cigarette butts (351,238), food wrappers (110,018), plastic bags (771,200), caps and lids (65,220) and beverage bottles (39,947).

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is a joint conservation partnership between the Vancouver Aquarium and WWF. It is presented by Loblaw Companies Limited and is supported by The Home Depot Canada Foundation, YVR Vancouver Airport Authority, BC Parks and several other national sponsors.

Harrison’s shorelines always need some help. To make our shoreline clean and healthy for the residents, wildlife, and tourists join this year’s clean up. No registration is required but participants sign a waiver on arrival. Meet at Spirit Square to clean from Rendall Park to the Hot Springs Source. Some gloves and bags are available but people are encouraged to bring their own. Communities in Bloom, Bear Aware Network of the Fraser Valley and the Miami River Streamkeepers Society will be on site with educational displays and refreshments.

The Miami River Streamkeepers Society is part of the Pacific Streamkeepers Federation, a non-profit society committed to supporting community groups involved in Stream keeping activities.  MRSk routinely monitor the Miami River shared greenway to remove invasive plants and litter. Recently they were awarded an $11, 440 Pacific Salmon Foundation Community Salmon Foundation Program grant for greenway restoration work, storm drain marking and public education.

Communities in Bloom is a Canadian non-profit organization committed to fostering civic pride, environmental responsibility and beautification through community involvement and the challenge of a national program, with focus on the promotion and value of green spaces in Community Settings. Harrison Hot Springs won the 2011CIB National Landscape Award competing against communities across Canada and in Europe.

Visit www.ShorelineCleanup.ca for further information.

– Janne Perrin is a member of the Miami River Streamkeeper Society in Harrison Hot Springs.