Thursday 1 August 2019

What a Mess! Thank You for Cleaning it Up

Hudson Bay Park/Mayfair/Kelsey Woodlawn Community Association
The Bad Guys 
Plastic – it’s polluting our land and oceans, killing fish, birds, and wildlife and even showing up in our food. But the most common form of pollution is one you may not have even considered. Approximately 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are discarded every year and they’re deadly.

The filters are made of plastic that will never break down entirely. They “are laced with chemicals including arsenic and heavy metals which can end up in the water supply, and is dangerous to animals, marine life and anyone who ingests them.” (1) They’re often mistaken for food by fish, dolphins, birds, and other sea turtles, showing up in the stomach of dead or dying sea creatures.

The damage cigarette butts cause doesn’t stop there. Recent studies have shown that the chemicals used to make the filters more flexible reduce the germination rate and growth of plants. (2)

The next most common forms of waste are plastic-lined coffee cups, plastic bottles, and food wrappers (chip bags, chocolate bar wrappers, etc.).

The top 5 plastic polluters in Canada in 2018 were Nestlé, Tim Hortons, PepsiCo., The Coca-Cola Company, and McDonald’s Corporation. “Their brands’ contribution to plastic pollution is alarming, but unsurprising given the billions of single-use plastic packaged products they churn out yearly. Pop and water bottles, rogue bottle caps, Lay’s chip bags, Kit Kat and Coffee Crisp bar wrappers; chances are that any cleanup conducted will reveal plastic pollution associated with these companies.” (3)

Natural Resource Technologies students
The Good Guys 
EcoFriendly Sask provides annual clean-up grants of $500 to those groups who are prepared to get out there and clean up the mess. 13 organizations across Saskatchewan received grants in 2019. They ranged from student groups in Preeceville, Prince Albert, and Saskatoon to community organizations in Denare Beach, Lampman, and Martensville.

The Denare Beach New Horizon’s Club used a canoe to pick garbage out of the water near the shore.

65 volunteers from the Hudson Bay Park/Mayfair/Kelsey Woodlawn Community Association collected 1,840 kilos of waste, including 20 tires, 2 pails of hazardous waste, and a large amount of batteries.

Club Joy in Martensville was pleased to be able to clean up the park and pond for the ducks and inspired others in the park area to help them.

Students in the Natural Resource Technologies program at Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Prince Albert, cleaned a 4 km stretch of Highway 55. Vehicles honked their horns to show support and the students hoped that their efforts would have a positive impact on the children riding the many school buses passing by.

Centennial Collegiate’s Outdoor Club held two clean-up events – at Saskatoon’s Northeast Swale and in Greenwater Provincial Park.

Saskatoon Search and Rescue spotted beavers as they cleaned up along the Meewasin trail.

Saskatoon Search and Rescue
You’ll find a complete list of the Clean-up Grant recipients on our website.