It's time again to remind paddlers of the International Coastal Cleanup on Saturday September 19, and its Canadian incarnation, the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. This activity is an excellent opportunity for paddlers of all kinds to get together and clean up trash along the shoreline in our home waters. It's a conservation activity initiated by the World Wildlife Federation in partnership with local interests such as the Vancouver Aquarium. Some of the cleaning is done by children walking on beaches, wearing gloves to pick up trash, some is done by boaters with ropes and hooks who can haul shopping carts out of streams and harbours. Some is official, some is very informal.
When does your area have an official cleanup? It might be any time of year. If your community doesn't have an event set up, it's not hard to get one started. There are suggestions and a training presentation for how to organize your own event at the Canadian website link above and here. Last year, over half a million volunteers picked up more than 16 million pounds (about 8 million kilograms) of trash during this cleanup.
Don't let the organizational issues concern you! If all you do is retrieve a few floating beer cans someone left in your favourite lake, you're part of the on-going cleanup. For good ideas on how paddlers can do their own cleanup, check out this link for a toolkit. And here's a page about it on Facebook, for when you come back indoors after going out on the water.