Last Friday, our science class participated in the Great Shoreline Cleanup, a program that removed 99,000 kilograms of litter from Canada last year! We ventured deep into the yellow line of the metro to eventually end up at beautiful Parc Jean-Drapeau, an island made by excess dirt from when the subways were dug out. It looked clean when we arrived, but as many of us realized when we really looked, there was trash all over the ground. We split into two groups and began the cleanup, moving slowly from carefully picking up trash and the absurd amount of cigarette butts one doesn’t always see until they really look.
As part of the cleanup we had designated team counters monitoring how much we cleaned up and of what, which was arguably a lot more stressful than actually bending over and picking up the trash. In the small area we covered of this massive park we found hundreds of pieces of trash/recyclables that they couldn’t be written down fast enough. We collected around 10 pounds of trash and recyclables in our time alone, barely scratching the surface of the park. Walking back to the metro, it was hard to walk by trash and not want to stop and pick it all up. The whole experience really made us think about how much trash there really is all around us, as well as where it comes from. I know there’s a beautiful fall courtyard right outside my window here, but I know if I look closely there could be small amounts of trash all over it.
The trash we found is about more than just appearances though; all kinds of ecosystems surrounding the shoreline we cleaned can be negatively affected by the litter we may carelessly throw about. It’s a big issue, but programs like this help get people like us excited about cleaning up our surroundings, and seeing the trash piled up at the end of our efforts was extremely satisfying.
– Justin Spognardi, Game Art Major, Fall 2014