Countless plastic bags, beer cans and cigarette butts are tossed into the ocean every year. And while garbage continues to pile up on the shores of the West Coast, the TriCities is not immune to litter bugs.
This year, the Port Moody Ecological Society is encouraging local residents to sign up for the 19th-annual Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.
Last year's cleanup of the Shoreline Trail of the Port Moody Arm of Burrard Inlet was a huge success, with 164 volunteers collecting 213 kilograms of garbage, including 161 glass beverage bottles, 211 plastic bags, 210 beverage cans and 402 food wrappers and containers.
They also found nine cars or car parts, 17 plastic sheets or tarps, 14 dog poop bags and one Ziploc bag of drugs.
Some participants across B.C. even managed to find a fully decorated Christmas tree, a prisoner's effects bag, an urn and a Playstation.
While the number of volunteers has increased dramatically over the past two years - jumping to 164 in 2011, up from 50 in 2010 - this year the society is setting its standards higher and hopes to draw a record number of volunteers and families to help clean up local shores.
"We're hoping to draw 165 volunteers for this year's event and we encourage more families to sign up," said Sandra Niven, president of the Port Moody Ecological Society and co-ordinator of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, Noons Creek, Port Moody section.
According to Niven, more cigarettes and cigarette filters are being thrown away than any other item and she hopes the cleanup will make people think twice about throwing cigarette butts and dog poop bags into the ocean.
"People think it's just one bag, but hundreds of people go through the park every day with their dogs," she said.
"That's a lot of cigarette butts and bags and it accumulates over the years. Take out what you take in - it's a basic park rule."
In B.C., 178,217 cigarettes were collected, including 695 in the Port Moody area.
The society is also looking for sponsorship from local vendors to get food and drinks for volunteers.
The Great Shoreline Cleanup will begin at the Noons Creek hatchery at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22. Volunteers will clean up garbage along the Shoreline Trail of the Port Moody Arm of the Burrard Inlet.
For more information or to sign up, visit www.noonscreek.org.