Ganaraska River cleanup contributes to Canada-wide effort

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is a Canada-wide initiative calling on volunteers to clean up trash along rivers, lakes and beaches in order to keep their communities clean and maintain the health of aquatic ecosystems. Trinity College School has participated in the shoreline cleanup for a number of years specifically working to clean up the banks and walkways along the Ganaraska River that runs through the centre of Port Hope. On Saturday, September 29th, our students experienced first-hand that the end of September is a particularly busy time of year with the many visitors, including fishermen, coming to the area for the salmon run. With more people comes the potential for more trash.

Twenty TCS students rolled up their sleeves and put on their gloves to collect 30 pounds of garbage waste and 15 pounds of recycle waste. Every piece of waste was carefully catalogued, from bottle caps and fishing lines to take-out containers and food wrappers. Our students were diligent in the task of collecting this data, understanding its importance in identifying waste products that pose the greatest threat to aquatic communities and understanding human behaviours tied to littering, such as fast-food consumption.

It was an eye-opening experience when the trash began accumulating and a reminder of how we can often be “trash-blind” as garbage blends into the surroundings. Dropping that one piece of trash does not seem terribly harmful, but the accumulated effects are. For the students, it was a reminder of the messages they hear at TCS, to be mindful of proper trash disposal on school grounds and in the community. It takes little effort to dispose of waste properly as garbage or recycling given that waste and recycle bins are widely found throughout the School and in the community in general. Let’s not make trash someone else’s problem!

- By Vincenza Pontieri, faculty chaperone