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B.C.'s largest coastline cleanup sets new targets

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 12:15 PDT, Thu July 28, 2022

New projects funded by the province in partnership with coastal communities and Indigenous Peoples will clean as much as 1,000 kilometres of B.C.'s coastline, remove as many as 30 derelict vessels and support local jobs.

An additional $3.8 million from the Clean Coast, Clean Waters Initiative Fund will be used this summer to tackle the cleanup and removal of polluting marine debris, and create 440 jobs in coastal and Indigenous communities.

"Through Clean Coast, Clean Waters, we're working with Indigenous Peoples and a range of partners to restore the health of our marine ecosystems, strengthen food security, and create meaningful employment opportunities," said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. "It is a great example of what can be achieved when communities, First Nations, and organizations work together toward a common goal to protect the places we live in and call home."

Three organizations with impressive records for caring for the ocean and coastal communities were chosen for their experience and dedication to the marine environment. Ocean Legacy Foundation, Coastal Restoration Society, and Misty Isles Economic Development Society will build on their success and experience from earlier phases of the program.

"Headquartered in Steveston, Ocean Legacy Foundation is a non-profit organization making a difference for our shorelines and oceans,” said Richmond–Steveston MLA Kelly Greene, Parliamentary Secretary for Environment. “Their continued work through the Clean Coast, Clean Waters program makes B.C. a cleaner, more beautiful place where ocean life can flourish. I'm proud to have them in our community and can't wait to see the results of this shoreline cleanup."

The Ocean Legacy Foundation is a Canadian non-profit organization that develops and implements worldwide plastic-pollution emergency-response programs with the goal to end oceanic plastic pollution. New project funding will enable the removal of debris from as much as 400 kilometres of shoreline. The project will focus on northern Vancouver Island and the south coast of the Sea to Sky Corridor, creating 150 jobs thanks to $1 million in funding.

“We are thrilled to be able to continue this important cleanup work together; one that prioritizes the health of our aquatic ecosystems and coastal communities across British Columbia,” said Chloé Dubois, executive director of the Ocean Legacy Foundation. “Ocean Legacy looks forward to continuing to build economic employment opportunities based on ecologically restorative practices and lend to preventative policies that help create plastic-free environments."

Clean Coast, Clean Waters is an important part of the CleanBC Plastics Action Plan and its goal to reduce plastic pollution. It is also part of B.C.'s $10-billion COVID-19 response, which includes the StrongerBC economic plan to protect people's health and livelihoods, support businesses and communities, and create a low-carbon economy.

To date, the Clean Coast, Clean Waters Initiative has:
• Removed more than 1,000 tonnes of debris, including more than 250 tonnes of derelict vessels (86 vessels), which is equivalent to the weight of 300 orcas

• Recycled or upcycled 65 per cent of material recovered from shoreline projects

• Cleaned nearly 4,000 kilometres of shoreline, which is the same distance as Victoria to Québec City, and is a 40.7 per cent increase from the original target of 2,800 kilometres

• Created almost 1,300 well-paying jobs

For more information about the Clean Coast, Clean Waters Initiative Fund, visit www.bccleancoast.ca

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