Canada’s Dirty Dozen: These 12 items don’t belong on our shores

Last fall, more than 10,891 bags of garbage were collected in the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.  The good news is that there is now 99,280 kilograms less garbage out there harming species and their ecosystems.  The bad news is it shouldn’t be there in the first place.  These are the most popular items collected on our shores, or as we call them, the Dirty Dozen!

1.  Cigarette/Cigarette Filters

© Marc Gilbert / adecom.ca
© Marc Gibert / adecom.ca

2.  Food Wrappers

© Vancouver Aquarium / WWF-Canada
© Vancouver Aquarium / WWF-Canada

3.  Plastic Bottle Caps

© Vancouver Aquarium / WWF-Canada
© Vancouver Aquarium / WWF-Canada

 4.  Plastic Beverage Bottles

Plastic water bottles collected from a beach. © Peter Chadwick / WWF-Canon
Plastic water bottles collected from a beach. © Peter Chadwick / WWF-Canon

5.  Beverage Cans

Aluminum drink can in beach sand ©iStock
Aluminum drink can in beach sand © iStock

 6.  Straws, Stirrers

A disposable soda cup with straw ©iStock
A disposable soda cup with straw ©iStock

7.  Plastic Bags

© Vancouver Aquarium / WWF-Canada
© Vancouver Aquarium / WWF-Canada

8.  Metal Bottle Caps

Bottle cap on the beach ©iStock
Bottle cap on the beach ©iStock

 9.  Plastic, foam packaging

Thrown away Styrofoam takeout carton sitting on the beach. ©iStock
Thrown away Styrofoam takeout carton sitting on the beach. ©iStock

 10.  Grocery Bags

©iStock
A plastic shopping bag floating in water ©iStock

11.  Plastic Lids

© Vancouver Aquarium / WWF-Canada
© Vancouver Aquarium / WWF-Canada

12.  Construction Materials

Wood, insulation, rope, and other items collected by cleanup volunteers © Vancouver Aquarium / WWF-Canada
Wood, insulation, rope, and other items collected by cleanup volunteers © Vancouver Aquarium / WWF-Canada

Canada’s shorelines need some extra attention to make sure our waters are healthy for everyone. Sign up for the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup presented by Loblaw Companies Limited and find a cleanup near you.  This is a great way to learn about how litter impacts our ecosystem, species and communities, and to make a real difference in the health of your local waters.