By 2050, plastic could outweigh fish if we do not curb our consumption.
This staggering fact, along with photos we have all seen of plastic-choked beachfronts, can be overwhelming to think about, let alone change. How can we make a difference when the challenge seems so immense?
One organization is inspiring many to take action in tangible, practical ways. The Ocean Legacy Foundation is an international non-profit organization based out of Vancouver that is doing a lot of things right. One of its primary efforts has been assisting with and organizing ocean cleanups along the coast of BC and further afield.
The foundation’s approach is unique on several fronts. For one, it makes every effort to reuse, responsibly recycle and repurpose the plastics it collects, rather than simply sending them to the landfill.
Visual art displays have been made with collected buoys, plastic bits are chipped and sent to cosmetics companies to be used as product packaging, polystyrene is transformed into building materials such as crown moulding and baseboards, and experiments are also being conducted to convert plastic back into oil to be used as a fuel source.
Powell River residents have been fortunate to work alongside Ocean Legacy this past year. Led by volunteers and funded by Powell River Regional District, three beach cleanups removed a mountain of trash from oceanfront areas in Saltery Bay and on Savary and Texada islands.
Thanks to these efforts a lot less trash is being bashed into microplastic bits on our coastlines during winter storms. For anyone keen to participate in cleaning up local beaches, there are many ways to become involved:
• Grab a garbage bag on a sunny afternoon and head down to the waterfront to see what can be found washed up after a storm. You may even find some treasures.
• Consider organizing a beach cleanup this spring or summer. Email letstalktrashteam.ca to express interest and receive more information.
• Remove single-use plastics from your life and make a habit of bringing your own water bottle, coffee mug, shopping bag and to-go utensils, which will go a long way to reducing your footprint.
• Check out oceanlegacy.ca or one of many other online sources to learn about the state of our ocean.
Together, we can stem the tide of plastic flooding our once pristine waterways.
Let’s Talk Trash is Powell River Regional District’s waste-management education program.