The one thing the coordinator of the Cascumpec Bay Watershed Association (CBWA) has noticed since the association started its annual beach cleanup is there seems to be less garbage to pick up along the shore every year.
“We had a truck load and a trailer load (last year), and the trailer is ten feet long by four feet wide,” said John Lane. “It was quite a bit, but the year before was two truck loads and two trailer loads.”
This year, the CBWA did its annual beach cleanup on Aug. 22 in Kildare, going along the shore at the Gap, near Jacques Cartier Provincial Park, to the harbour in Northport. The smell of seaweed was thick in the air as volunteers walked along the shoreline. Though the skies were grey and misting, it was a humid day. Volunteers were asked to keep recyclables separate from the rest of the trash, and bags that were half filled were combined into one.
Mr Lane said if you can carry it down to the beach or take it down to the beach, you should be able to take it back with you. For examples, if you take a can of a full beverage, you should be able to take the empty can back, and if beach-goers even did that, it would be a big help.
If something is larger and partially buried, it’s left where it is. This is because these larger items like logs, old lobster traps, and other things help catch the sand, which in turn helps to build up the dunes.
Mr Lane isn’t the only one who’s noticed less garbage during cleanups. Several volunteers and supervisors noticed the lack of detritus as well.
One theory about this is the amount of garbage bins available for the public to use now. Built by the CBWA, the bins are painted bright red and yellow, easily standing out. These bins are located at Gordon’s Pond, Profit’s Pond, Marchbank Pond, and three are at Jacques Cartier Park.
The ones at Jacques Cartier Park seem to be getting the most use, and is emptied about once a week. There’s talk of possibly putting another set at the other end of the Gap. Mr Lane said there are still people who will always throw trash out a car window, no matter how close they are to a bin.
Kelly Gillis was one of the volunteers at the beach cleanup. She thinks the littering that happens along the shore isn’t always intentional.
“Sometimes it’s just a matter of people, they see the garbage, but they just don’t have the means to get rid of it while enjoying the beach,” she said. “It’s not like they’re purposefully throwing waste.”
By the end of the day there was only one truck load filled, and a wagon that was half filled.
Much of what was found were ropes, buoys, and other things from the fishing industry, but even that type of debris is washing up on shore less and less.
“The fishermen are doing their part,” said Mr Lane. “One thing we don’t find as much of is the empty oil, like, when they used to use a quart of oil, they would throw the can over. We’ve seen very little of that now, so the fishermen are being a lot more responsible, and they should be commended for that.”