Remote clean ups are some of the greatest adventures of our work, as well as the most harrowing, as we travel to pristine areas and encounter an astonishing amount of marine debris. The farther away you travel from human communities, the more debris you will discover. It is these areas that need great attention in restoration, and give us the most clarity on the immense scope of the plastic pollution crisis. In 2017, we conducted 12 cleanups spanning 16 days, removing 20 tonnes of marine debris. In 2018, we will be participating in and organizing a total of 7 remote clean ups, with a focus in Clayoquot Sound.

The event that catapulted our team into remote clean ups was the Hanjin Shipping Spill in November 2016. Hanjin shipping company lost some 35 containers overboard at sea, and they crashed along the shores and islands of Pacific Rim.

Our local Parks team went after Hanjin and successfully received $72k in compensation to clean up the 17 spots identified. Although the cash was tied up in politics for too long, the cash was finally released thanks to awareness raised by our local MP Gord Johns: Courtenay-Alberni Member of Parliament. PRNPR awarded Surfrider for our contributions which cleaned up the spill in November, Wickaninnish Beach in March, and all of the 17 identified spots where our team conducted clean ups.

All of the marine debris we collect is sorted and sent to The Ocean Legacy Foundation who recycle marine debris into new resources for companies including Lush Cosmetics North America. Diverting material from landfill into resources is paramount for the creation of a circular economy. Individual responsibility is just as important to think about, personal lifestyle choices, along with education that looks at our consumption, waste infrastructure systems, packaging, reducing plastics and aligning with business that have ocean friendly business practices. Marine debris is a daily concern on the Pacific Rim, lots of debris is already present on our coasts, and it is important for us all to take responsibility for the things we are finding on our beaches.

REFUSE      REDUCE        REUSE        RECYCLE        REDESIGN

the systems that are solutions to the pollution problem.

Thank you to the Vancouver Island Marine Debris working group, for your support and wisdom and decades of cleaning the coasts of Vancouver Island. Thank you to all the people in our community whom continually clean our beaches everyday, and to the guardians of this land whom have protected it for centuries. Thank you to our long standing sponsors Jamie’s Whaling Station & Adventure Centres, Wickaninnish Inn, the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust and Patagonia for supporting remote clean ups in 2018!

To find out more, please contact chair@pacificrim.surfrider.org.