Lasqueti Beach Clean Up

Let’s Talk Trash - May 2021 - Ocean Plastics Clean-Up


    In 2019, the BC provincial government began a comprehensive consultation with local governments and individuals about plastic pollution in the ocean and on the shorelines of coastal communities. Here on Lasqueti, Donald Gordon, Peter Johnston and The Styrophobe (aka Mark Bottomley) were contacted by Sheila Malcolmson and her team. They talked about abandoned vessels, derelict fishing gear, polystyrene foam, aquaculture debris, and single use plastics affecting marine life and food sources. 

    Out of this coastal wide consultation came the Clean Coast, Clean Waters (CCCW) Initiative, which is part of the BC Plastics Action Plan and the Provincial goal to address plastic pollution. It’s also part of the $10 billion Covid Response Plan, which includes the BC Economic Recovery Plan, to protect people’s health and livelihoods while supporting businesses and communities. The CCCW Initiative is supposed to create meaningful employment opportunities from seasonal shoreline clean-up and community education to specialized positions in the logistics of waste management, transportation and tourism sectors. 

    This summer, more than $9.5 million from the Clean CCCW Initiative Fund will be used to tackle shoreline clean ups and/or derelict vessel removals from the North Coast down to Southern Vancouver Island. Lasqueti is part of the collaboration cleaning up the Central Salish Sea, along with groups from Denman, Texada, the Comox Valley, Powell River, Thormanby,  and the Sunshine Coast. They are all working together under the umbrella of the non-profit, the Ocean Legacy Foundation (OLF).

    The Central Salish Sea Clean Up focuses on creating job opportunities in rural and remote areas and fostering partnerships between First Nations. The goal is to catalyze action between non-profits, volunteer associations (LSD - Lasqueti Styrofoam Days - now renamed Lasqueti Shoreline Debris) and industry and local governments. Until now, these groups and other concerned citizens (The Styrophobe) have been volunteering their time and energy to clean the BC coastlines. 

    The CCCW Initiative funding (through the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy) provides paid opportunities for these groups to plan and engage in the removal of heavily accumulated debris from industry, tourism and derelict vessels, while helping to restore damaged aquatic eco-systems. 

    Mark Bottomley is the local Project Manager and has gathered an intrepid team of Field Technicians (debris pickers) to clean Lasqueti and the surrounding islands, including Sangster and Ballenas. You might see the high-vis vested crew heading out in boats and working the beaches, sorting what they find into mega-bags. If you’ve collected marine garbage let him know where to find it. 

    A key part of the project is sorting the debris to have it recycled rather than landfilled. Everything being collected is tagged and weighed in order to create a data set of what kind of marine debris is gathered. The Ocean Legacy Recycling Center in Vancouver is expected to receive 300 tonnes of beach waste they’ll be converting into recyclable plastic. The new Powell River depot for Marine Plastic will also be dealing with what is collected. 

    While this project is a good beginning in addressing ocean plastic pollution, there is a need to continue efforts to mitigate the input of future derelict gear and other sources of marine plastic into coastal waters. 


From WMMark: In April, on the trash removal day, someone put three jugs of used engine oil in their trash bags. They ruptured and leaked on the deck of the barge. Kelli had to put a spill boom around the barge and clean up the deck. Please, don’t do that again or you’ll mess up the system for all of us. 

Trash Removal System: June 9th, the second Wednesday of the month,10 am until the barge is full, is the trash removal day at the False Bay barge ramp.  Any changes due to weather will be posted on the email list, FB Lasqueti Hotwire, and the Lasqueti website. No construction materials, renovation or demolition waste, prohibited waste, organics, recyclable material or stewardship materials. $5 per bag, $25 per average truckload. Mattresses and boxsprings $15 each. Please call Mark 8601 or 250 240 9886, if you have any questions about what constitutes acceptable garbage.

Recycling Depot: Spring/Summer Hours  April 1- October 31st

Mondays 10 am - 2 pm, Thursdays 1 - 5 pm, Friday 10 am - 4 pm

Closed on Statutory Holidays. All recycling is monitored. Please bring it CLEAN and DRY and SORTED.

Free Store: Spring/Summer Hours  April 1- October 31st

Monday 10 am – 2 pm and Thursday 1 - 5 pm 

Please respect the signs. Practice social distancing. Go in the front door and leave through the back. Drop donations during open hours.

Ginja requests you drop off outstanding items only i.e. clean, usable clothing and household items. Please, NO food, garbage, recycling, TV’s, soft foam, batteries, electrical devices, mattresses or hazardous materials ie: chemicals, fluorescent light tubes, prescription/non-prescription drugs, or pills in general.

Recycle BC Website:

Return-It Beverage Depot open 24/7

Front left of Free Store. Accepts refundable beverage containers: beer, cider, pop, coconut water cans, boxed wine cartons (leave them intact), water jugs and tetra juice packs. No milk containers and any kind of glass - please take these to the recycling depot. 

If you have any questions, comments, suggestions for me and the Let’s Talk Trash team please get in touch! jennyv [at] lasqueti [dot] ca or 8601











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Let's Talk Trash

Once upon a time I worked at the Free Store and Recycling Center. It was an interesting, sociable, and gross job which caused me to despair for the world at the same time as it provided me with treasure. Back then, I fantasized about having time to write inspiring, informative pieces about work in the waste stream on a remote and inconvenient island. Seven years later, my dream has come true!


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