The best time to pick up litter is whenever we see it – especially small plastic litter such as water bottles, drinking straws, spoons, stir sticks, cup lids, ziploc bags, etc.
About 80% of plastic pollution in the ocean comes from the land, much of it via storm drains and creeks. In some parts of the North Pacific, tiny fragments of plastic litter outweigh plankton by an order of 6 or 7 to 1. As a result, plankton-eating animals can literally starve despite having full stomachs (full of plastic, that is). From the bottom of the aquatic food chain all the way to the top (the large fish we humans like to eat, and the marine mammals we like to watch), plastic pollution is having a devastating effect.
So please, when you’re out walking or hiking, wherever it may be, bring along a small bag and fill it with whatever litter you may find. You’ll be keeping that litter out of storm drains, creeks, rivers, and ultimately, the ocean.
If you or your group (school class, Scouts, youth group, bridge club, etc) would like to take part in a more formal litter-removal outing, with heavy-duty bags provided and collected by Surrey and/or Delta, do contact us.
Caution: You can do more harm than good if you churn up silt by removing garbage from the creekbed itself. A semi-submerged shopping cart or rubber tire may not look nice, but they do no actual harm and even provide “channel complexities” that are good for fish and other organisms. Confine your good deeds to dry land and avoid disturbing the creekbed itself!