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

Saanich police see spike in excessive speeding compared to previous years

Nearly 100 excessive speeders caught since January 2020

Colwood branch drop-off to continue throughout summer

COVID-19 safety measures remain in place

Welcome to grilling season: Saanich firefighter talks barbecue safety tips

Grills should be cleaned, serviced prior to use, firefighter says

Cycling scavenger hunt comes to Tweed City

Cyclists scour Oak Bay for clues in Bike to Work Week event

Colwood woman launches Adopt a Grad

Facebook page aims to support students during pandemic

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

$200,000 Maybach impounded after ‘L’ driver caught excessively speeding in Vancouver

Meanwhile, the supervisor sat in the passenger seat, police said

Most Read