Beaches near Sidney’s Tsehum Harbour to receive first clean up in years

Peninsula Streams Society hopes to attract 50 volunteers for the Saturday event

Saturday, the beaches ringing Sidney’s Tsehum Harbour will join, at least for a couple of hours, the frontlines of the global war against polystyrene, better known by its brand name of Styrofoam.

Peninsula Stream Society lead the charge in the clean up around the busy harbour, itself near a bird sanctuary and a residential area.

Brian Koval, assistant coordinator for Peninsula Streams Society, said the area was last tidied in 2017.

“The issue with harbours of course is that things off come boats, things come off docks, especially Styrofoam,” said Koval, who is hoping that some 50 volunteers will join him in Resthaven Park, starting at 10 a.m.

RELATED: Volunteers rip out a ‘small hill’ of invasive plants from North Saanich park

According to Francesca Loro, the society’s stewardship and education coordinator, about 30 people have already signed up. “We had almost 50 volunteers at our holiday beach clean-up last year,” she said.

Scientists consider polystyrene, along with various types of plastic, one of the worst threats to aquatic life of all sizes and kinds. It is unclear how much Styrofoam floats in the ocean. It makes up countless items including food containers such as plates and cups but also household items. According to one study, Americans throw away an estimated 25 billion Styrofoam cups every year, or about 82 cups per person.

It is against this scourge Saturday’s cleanup takes up arms.

“The big chunks, of course, could get eaten,” said Koval. “That’s not good for [acquatic life], and as it breaks down, it gets smaller and smaller, and smaller organisms end up eating them.”

Eventually, it will get so small, that smaller filter feeders will absorb it, he added.

This phenomenon does not exempt humans though. While polystyrene never fully degrades, it absorbs other chemicals from the environment, which then bio-accumulate up the food chain, affecting human health.

RELATED: Volunteers needed for Pat Bay beach clean-up

The society will supply gloves and equipment. Interested volunteers can also bring their own.

Organizers will also show how to sample for forage fish, small fish that eat microscopic plants and animals drifting near the ocean surface, then serve as food supply for larger fish.

Finally, the event will also include a visit from Santa and a post-clean up social event with warm drinks.

Events like Saturday’s can make a major difference for both the environment and the public purse, said Koval.

“Really where the money is, and really where we are saving, is the fact that that we have volunteers out there, cleaning up the beach, as opposed to having to pay municipal workers,” he said. “The in-kind contribution of the volunteer hours is just so significant towards the project.”


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Province asks health-care staff to be ‘vigilant’ in screening for possible coronavirus cases

This comes after U.S. health officials confirmed a case of the virus in Washington State

Saanich starts reserve fund to enhance municipality’s urban forest

Funds will go to planting more trees support urban canopy growth, outreach

Homes fit for royals for sale in North Saanich

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have returned to Greater Victoria

Gold Rush star dons Lucky Lager shirt in latest episode

Brennan Ruault, originally from Invermere, joined the show in the sixth season

VIDEO: Protesters block entrance to Victoria government building to support Wet’suwet’en First Nation

Activists want Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs demands to be upheld, observed and respected

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

PHOTOS: Heavy snowfall breaks window, causing avalanche into B.C. newsroom office

It was a chaotic start to the week for the Kitimat Northern Sentinel

Canadian law firm launches class action on behalf of Iran flight victims

Flight 752 was shot down by Iran shortly after take off

Mission Hill cellarman fired after mistakenly dumping $162K of wine down the drain

The former employee filed a grievance with the West Kelowna winery but was unsuccesful

Police suspect foul play in Cowichan Tribes death

Police are looking at foul play in relation to a death on… Continue reading

Hospital patient pleads guilty to dumbbell assault of nurse in Abbotsford

Neale Heath admits to assault causing bodily harm in attack last September

Most Read