Greater Victoria Green Team volunteer Twila Provencher picks up garbage during the team’s beach clean up at Esquimalt Lagoon recently. Volunteers cleaned up 2,240 cigarette butts, 59 plastic pieces, 42 food wrappers, 33 bottle caps, 21 paper cups and plates as well as a number of other items. (Greater Victoria Green Team photo)

Cigarette butts the main culprit in lagoon beach cleaup

Thousands of butts were picked up by the Greater Victoria Green team recently

Walking along Esquimalt Lagoon with clean-up supplies in hand, Amanda Evans was shocked by what she found.

Thousands of cigarette butts littered the Colwood beach, which is a migratory bird sanctuary. And that’s not all that was picked up from the shoreline.

Fourteen volunteers with the Greater Victoria Green Team, in collaboration with the Esquimalt Lagoon Stewardship Initiative, picked up 2,240 cigarette butts, 59 plastic pieces, 42 food wrappers, 33 bottle caps, 21 paper cups and plates, 17 glass pieces and 14 cigar tips, as well as a number of takeout containers, foam pieces, packaging material, straws, bottles and cans and toys during a beach cleanup of the Esquimalt Lagoon and Coburg Peninsula recently.

Some unusual items, including an old airplane seat belt and a recently expired parking pass for the University of Victoria were also picked up by the team, which is a region-wide environmental volunteer program that participates in the removal of invasive plants, cleaning up beaches and volunteering on educational farms.

While the Green Team has completed a total of four beach cleanups and invasive species removal at the lagoon since May 2016, they found the most amount of garbage this time around, with the main culprit being cigarette butts – an item the team says outnumbers any other type of trash they find throughout the Capital Region.

“It was quite shocking. It’s disgusting to think people would do that to a beach … I think it’s just a lack of awareness still of the impacts that we have on the natural environment. It’s easy to think once you’re done a cigarette that it will disintegrate, but it actually takes quite a long time to break down and they’re full of chemicals,” said Evans, program manager of the Green Team.

She noted in one area at the lagoon, there was a concentration of butts, where it looked like one person had emptied their car’s ash tray.

“Things are getting better, but there are some who are not quite aware of the impact their having by not putting their cigarette butt in the garbage,” Evans said.

The Green Team will continue its work on the West Shore this weekend by removing invasive plants at Chancellor Park in View Royal on Sunday, Oct. 22 from 9:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For more information or to volunteer visit, meetup.com/Greater-Victoria-Green-Team.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

kendra.wong@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

High speed internet coming to remote CRD areas

Ottawa to invest $34 million to build 3.5 million metres of subsea fibre optic cable in B.C.

Affordable housing organization seeks to build in Sooke

Habitat for Humanity hopes to build cluster of townhouses at 2008 Murray Road

Council re-tenders Murray Road staircase project

Project could be delayed months

Langford loses bid to host Amazon HQ2

Mayor hopes to attract more tech jobs to city

Whooping cough detected in Claremont student

15 Greater Victoria schools have been informed of a student with pertussis since September

WATCH: Giant waves smash Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point

Folks made their way to Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point Lighthouse on Thursday, Jan.… Continue reading

WestJet appeals lost bid to scrap harassment lawsuit

Airline argues judge was wrong to have dismissed the company’s application to strike the legal action

Can U.S. border guards search your phone? Yes, and here’s how

Secretary of homeland security explains a new policy that let’s border guards check phones

‘Beautiful writer’ Nancy Richler dies of cancer in Vancouver hospital

Montreal-born author spent most of her adult life in B.C. as a fiction writer and novelist

Jury convicts spear-wielding Duncan man in 2015 Ladysmith RV park murder

Trever George Meers used a handmade spear to stab Rayna Johnson at the Campers Corners RV Park

Students frustrated by UBCO response to harassment allegations

Students on the Kelowna campus were unaware of resources and worried about lack of communication

Opinion: Dare to be smarter

Just say no works for more than just substance abuse

‘Sing Me a Song’ about B.C. for a chance at $1,000 contest prize

Entries due by March 30 for lieutenant-governor’s British Columbia-themed competition

Facing reality of death, B.C. man learns real meaning of life

Even while preparing for the end, something inside Keven Drews won’t let him stop living

Most Read