FDU-Vancouver pitches in at 20th Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup
Despite the rain on Saturday, Sept. 28, FDU-Vancouver student Vidhi Bhalla — plus 19 other FDU-Vancouver students and local Rotary Club Yaletown members — pitched in at the 20th Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. (Photos courtesy of Jobin Mojtabavi)
By Kenna Caprio
Each June and September, members of the FDU-Vancouver community join other volunteers across the country to clean up Canada’s shoreline. This year marks the 20th Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, and the seventh year that FDU-Vancouver will participate.
“Over the past seven years, we’ve been cleaning the same site and we’ve noticed a dramatic reduction in debris,” says Jobin Mojtabavi, associate director of Student Services at FDU-Vancouver.
The campus originally joined the environmental effort under the direction of FDU-Vancouver’s first provost, Ian Haslam. “He wanted to get community initiatives going and get our students involved,” says Mojtabavi, who now spearheads FDU-Vancouver’s involvement. “It’s a tradition that we’ve established.”
FDU-Vancouver serves as a site coordinator — organizing materials and providing garbage bags, gloves, water, snacks and data cards to volunteers — at False Creek, near Science World and Olympic Village in British Columbia. Each item found and removed during the clean up must be catalogued on the data cards, which are then returned to the Vancouver Aquarium for tallying and analysis.
FDU-Vancouver students (from left) Amandeep Kaur Chauhan, Vidhi Bhalla, Ravitej Kaur, Harmandeep Kaur Grewal and Amanpreet Kaur Grewal smile at the cleanup.
“It is a fantastic experience in terms of participation, integration, socialization and contribution,” says Lilian Costa-Bandeira, a 28-year-old Brazilian graduate student at FDU-Vancouver who participated in the June 2013 shoreline clean up. “There are many ways to make a difference and help to change the world around us. Cleaning the shoreline is a great way to contribute.”
Since 1994, nearly half a million people have participated in the cleanup, removing more than 1.2 million kilograms (approximately 2,645,547 pounds) of litter, according to a Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup press release. At the September 28 cleanup, FDU-Vancouver students and local rotary members removed more than 40 pounds of garbage from the shoreline.
Over the years, “we’ve found mattresses, a TV, and then always some random large pipe or piece of building material,” says Mojtabavi.
The most common items volunteers find include: cigarettes, cigarette filters, food wrappers and containers; plastic bags; plastic beverage bottles, caps and lids; beverage cans; glass beverage bottles; plastic cutlery and plates; straws and stirrers; tobacco packaging; and building materials, according to the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup website.
One item that really caught the interest of the FDU-Vancouver volunteers during the June 2013 cleanup was a “huge traffic cone full of seaweed,” says Costa-Bandeira.
After completing the cleanup, volunteers receive a certificate of participation from the Vancouver Aquarium. “Students do it because they care about the environment. It’s a city that cares about the outdoors. The environment and nature are really important to us,” says Mojtabavi. “It’s an easy way to give back to the city you’re living in.”