The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, presented by Loblaw Companies Limited, is a national direct action conservation parternship of Ocean Wise and WWF-Canada that empowers Canadians to take action for healthy waterways by leading or joining shoreline cleanups.
This is a place for students and educators to learn about the sources and impacts of shoreline litter, find teaching resources, browse photos, and get more information about coordinating your own shoreline cleanup! Here's what we have to offer:
If you are a teacher looking for resources for your classroom, check out our lesson guides, available for grades K-7. These guides provide indoor and outdoor activities that help students develop their understanding of water stewardship, the sources and impacts of shoreline litter, and information on how to lead their own shoreline cleanup. In addition, have students explore the program and some of our citizen science litter data on their own under the Why Cleanup? tab (with short quizzes that follow), or the interactive story maps!
Cleanups can take place any time of the year, anywhere land connects to water, including rivers, lakes, streams, and beaches. All of the resources you need to lead your own shoreline cleanup including a site coordinator guide and checklist, posters, waivers, and litter data cards are found on our website. Download your cleanup resources here: www.shorelinecleanup.ca/school. Just look for the Cleanup Resources tab on the page. Once you're ready, you can register your cleanup on our website too!
Since 1994, the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup volunteers have led more than 21,000 cleanups, inspiring nearly 800,000 Canadians to take action! Learn more about the impact of this program through our annual reports.
This is a place for teachers and students to browse fun photos and videos related to shoreline cleanups. Look through photos of some of the weirdest items found on shorelines, print off posters about the impacts of shoreline litter for your classroom, or check out our simple tutorials for living an ocean-friendly life . Classes are also encouraged to share their own photos using the upload feature in the Volunteers in Action gallery!
You can follow the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup’s Facebook page, or check out our live updates on Twitter or Instagram. Share your shoreline cleanup news, thoughts, or photos with us using #shorelinecleanup!
The Great Canadian Shoreline Team talks about a new fitness trend on Global National on April 3rd, 2018. This new trend, called "plogging", started in Sweden and combines jogging and picking up litter. When we first heard about it, we laced up and couldn't wait to try. Little did we know, we'd already been doing it!
Tiny plastic and foam fragments topped our annual “Dirty Dozen” list, which reports on the types of litter most commonly found on Canada’s marine and freshwater shores. More than 330,000 tiny pieces of plastic and foam debris were collected by Shoreline Cleanup volunteers – from 1,849 cleanups that covered nearly 3,000 kilometres of shoreline in 2017.
Plastic bottles, caps and bags were also high on the list of offenders. Around the world, the equivalent of one dump truck load of plastic enters the oceans every minute, impacting hundreds of marine species.
“Once in the water, plastic never goes away. It breaks up into increasingly smaller pieces known as microplastics that are next to impossible to remove, and are found throughout the food chain, from tiny zooplankton to marine mammals,” says Rachel Schoeler, Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup (GCSC) manager. “That’s why we’re working to keep shorelines clean, in order to stop plastic from entering the water in the first place.”
Year after year, GCSC volunteers play a critical role in helping reduce plastic pollution in coastal and freshwater bodies. Last year alone more than 58,000 people removed 88,700 kilograms of garbage that otherwise would have entered the water, impacting wildlife and ecosystems. Citizen science data, collected by Shoreline Cleanup volunteers, is shared with the International Coastal Cleanup to help support scientific research on marine and coastal pollution.
“The data collected underscores just how prevalent plastic pollution is in Canada’s own oceans, lakes, wetlands and rivers. What can be seen and cleaned from the shore is just the tip of the iceberg. Microplastics, the invisible remnants of things such as plastic bags, synthetic clothing and bottles, are found in our waters at an alarming rate,” says Megan Leslie, World Wildlife Fund Canada president and CEO.
“Wildlife such as fish, birds and turtles mistake microplastics for food or become entangled in larger plastics. Every piece of garbage we remove from our shorelines is one less piece that can harm wildlife.”