I had the honor to help coordinate a World Wildlife Shoreline cleanup this past weekend. Any chance I get, I try to give back to my local community environment by volunteering through organizations like WWF Canada.

As part of the day, the group of cleanup volunteers were instructed to pick a park in the city and focus their volunteer efforts on cleaning up the shoreline from garbage and non-organic matter. The area we chose is known for being a running and cycle path for active Torontoians. Much to my surprise during the clean up, we picked up dozens of water bottles. With a shoreline that has garbage and recycling vestibules every 50 yards, I was shocked to find some much plastic bottles and beverage containers littering the shoreline.

On top of the beverage containers, cigarette butts, beer bottles and small pieces of plastic tie and black rope were found in bird grazing areas along with water shoreline embankments. Although no evidence of negative animal impact were found, I could only imagine what would be lying around in the stomachs of these birds and aquatic life.

To end off on a more positive note, I think as a city we need to do a better job educating active adults in the area to be more aware of their impact on local animal life. The WWF shoreline launch had some excellent signage that displayed the consequences of negative human influence on the local shoreline environment. I would like to share some of these here.

Cleaning up our neighbourhoods is not just a once a year thing. If you take walks every day, try bringing garbage/recycle bag with you and a pair of garden gloves and help cleanup your neighbourhood. Others seeing you do this, will at least inspire a thought in their mind to be more conscious of their waste and where they can dispose of it.

If you are part of a community group, schedule a clean up once a month or a few times a year. Write letters to your city or county about how they can help improve waste management, education, and recycling programs. Join larger organizations like World Wildlife and join their events, they love volunteers.