Thousands of pounds of garbage were collected during two clean-ups of areas in the Cowichan Valley last weekend.
Chloe Boyle, an environmental technologist with the Cowichan Valley Regional District, said 1,200 pounds of debris was collected from Mill Bay beach by approximately 50 volunteers.
She said another 22 volunteered to clean up an area of Sahtlam around the Cowichan Valley Trail, and another 1,500 pounds was collected.
“The Clean up Cowichan campaign has gotten a lot of positive support and media attention, and I think the events are a fantastic way to build community and address a larger problem,” Boyle said.
“The community organizations TREE (The Reforestation Efforts of Everyone), and Sahtlam Neighborhood Association did a tremendous amount of work to organize volunteers. The Mill Bay clean-up is an annual event, and while the CVRD helped promote the event this year, it was mainly sponsored through Fisher Road Recycling, DL Bins, Enviro Glass Straw, and the Community Farm Store.”
In an effort to try and deal with illegal dumping, the CVRD and Mosaic Forest Management are partnering to support illegal dumping clean-up efforts throughout the month of April.
All around the world, groups of residents are taking up the #TrashTag challenge in their communities, cleaning up dump sites and litter while raising awareness about the issue through social media.
The CVRD and Mosaic are encouraging residents to organize and/or participate in a clean-up event around the region during April.
The CVRD is providing resources for clean-up materials and is waiving the garbage tipping fee for qualifying community groups who register their events with the CVRD’s solid waste and recycling division.
Mosaic is providing further incentives for volunteers in the form of gift cards to purchase refreshments for registered clean-up events, as well as prizes for individuals and community groups who promote their efforts on social media.
Boyle said a clean up is planned along the lower Cowichan River on April 20.
Volunteers are asked to meet at Adam’s Tarp & Tool at 9:30 a.m.
She said another clean up is planned for Shawnigan Lake on April 28, and volunteers are asked to meet at 10 a.m. at the Shawnigan Pavilion.
The clean-up that is happening around Shawnigan Lake is being organized under the South Cowichan Rotary Club, and is also receiving support from Fisher Road Recycling and PAN Disposal.
“Remember to dress for the weather and wear closed-toe shoes,” Boyle said in regards to both clean ups.
“There are some other clean ups planned at this stage, but they are mostly being conducted by school and scout groups that don’t require any additional volunteers.”
Community groups and individuals participating in clean-ups throughout April are encouraged to share their stories on social media using the #TrashTag and #CleanUpCowichan hashtags.
Cowichan residents can also help prevent illegal dumping by reporting polluters to the Ministry of Environment’s RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277 (or #7277 from cellphones) and increase the chances offenders are caught and fined.
For a list of registered community clean-ups across the Cowichan region, visit the CVRD’s website at www.cvrd.bc.ca.
To learn more about the waste disposal options near you, visit www.cvrd.bc.ca/Recycling or call the Recycling Hotline at 250-746-2540.