SDSS students participate in annual Port Elgin Beach spring clean-up

May 31, 2015


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SDSS Teacher Nancie Darlington-Smith (R) and Karen Alexander (L) of the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation (L) with SDSS students

2nd group of SDSS students arrive

Saugeen District Secondary School (SDSS) students participated in the annual Port Elgin beach clean-up under the supervision of teacher Nancie Darling-Smith and Karen Alexander, Outreach & Education Coordinator for the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation.

Students head out along beach with heavy-duty garbage bags

The beach clean-up was one of several carried out under a Great Lakes Community Guardian grant.

As with many beaches, it appears that the biggest problem on the Port Elgin beach is cigarette butts and plastic pieces.

"Plastic pieces accumulate in the environment as larger items break down from UV ray and wave energy exposure," says Alexander.  "We find a lot of plastic pieces in the strand lines or organic debris that washes up in storms that leaves a line of debris on the beaches."

Each year, teacher Nancie Darlington-Smith encourages her class to become engaged in environmental stewardship of the area's beaches.  This year, 24 students participated in the clean-up and collected 1,616 litter items.  Of those, the majority at 515 were cigarette butts and plastic, ranging from foam packaging and plastic bottle caps to food wrappers and plastic bags.

The following is a breakdown of what the students collected:

Cleanup Summary

Weight (in pounds 25

# of Trash Bags Filled 1

# of Recycling Bags Filled 0

Litter Items 1616

Most Likely to Find Items

Cigarette Butts 515

Food Wrappers 61

Take out Containers (plastic) 14

Take out Containers (foam) 7

Bottle Caps (plastic) 36

Bottle Caps (metal) 16

Lids (plastic) 8

Straws, Stirrers 52

Forks, Knives, Spoons 15

Beverage Bottles (plastic) 58

Beverage Bottles (glass) 8

Beverage Cans 16

Grocery Bags (plastic) 7

Other Plastic Bags 20

Paper Bags 5

Cups & Plates (paper) 5

Cups & Plates (plastic) 2

Cups & Plates (foam) 1

Click the orange arrow to read the second column

Personal Hygiene

Condoms 5

Diapers 4

Syringes 3

Tampons/Tampon Applicators 3

Packaging Materials

6-Pack Holders

Other Plastic, Foam packaging 23

Other Plastic bottles (oil, bleach, etc.) 1

Strapping Bands 8

Tobacco Packaging/Wrappers 1

Other Trash

Appliances (refrigerators, washers, etc)

Balloons 12

Batteries 7

Cigar Tips 27

Cigarette Lighters 1

Clothing, Shoes 8

Construction Materials 12



Toys 10

Fishing Gear

Fishing Buoys, Pots & Traps

Fishing Line (1 yard/metre = 1 piece) 2

Fshing Lures/Light Sticks

Fishing Net & Pieces

Rope (1 yard/metre = 1 piece) 10

Tiny Trash less than 2.5 cm

Foam Pieces 86

Glass pieces 15

Plastic Pieces 302

Pellets 19

Pieces greater than 2.5 cm

Plastic Pieces 207

Foam Pieces 4

glass pieces

Litter Items of Local Concern

Item 1 cigarette butts

Item 2 plastic pieces <2.5cm

Item 3 plastic pieces >2.5 cm

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Sunday, May 31, 2015