Volunteers clean up Cape Breton beach of debris left by storm
Published Saturday, June 30, 2018 6:53PM ADT
Many Maritimers may have enjoyed Saturday’s sunshine by heading to the beach. But for a group of nearly 30 volunteers in Donkin, Cape Breton, their day at the beach was more rewarding than relaxing.
You wouldn’t have been able to tell from Saturday’s weather, but just days ago, lobster fishermen in Cape Breton lost thousands of dollars of gear in a wind storm. CTV’s chief meteorologist Kalin Mitchell said a peak wind gust of 91 kilometres per hour was recorded in Sydney during Tuesday's storm.
On Saturday the community came together to collect lobster traps, broken fishing gear, and trash of all kinds from the shores of Schooner Pond Beach in Donkin.
"It's pretty crazy honestly, to think we've only been out here for an hour, and as you can see, we've brought up all this stuff. We still have two hours to go. I didn't think it would be this bad," said volunteer Rebecca Dupuis.
Volunteers struggled to separate trash mangled in mounds of seaweed, hauling all of it off of the beach to be trucked away.
One of the stranger things they found in the early going was a tractor tire.
"There are some household items that I’m a little befuddled on how they get down to the beach, so yeah, it's kind of overwhelming actually," says Megan Steeves.
"This is probably one of the worst beach cleanups we've ever done. This amount of stuff, in this short a period of time, I have no words to describe it, it's crazy," says Dylan Yates of the Cape Breton Environmental Association.
While most of the lobster traps the group found went in the scrap pile, a few are actually salvageable.
"We're going to put them to the side. See if there's some fishermen who want to come and retrieve them," says Yates.
Along with tidying up some of the thousands of dollars’ worth of fishing gear, this cleanup is a matter of community pride. An effort to make this pretty shoreline look pristine on this most patriotic of weekends.
"It feels good. Because I could be out with my friends or on the beach doing something today, but I feel a lot better contributing to the environment like this in our community," says Rebecca Dupuis,
There was so much trash, volunteers said they might not finish today as planned. But even if they end up back here tomorrow, they don't seem to mind. After all, they're doing their part as proud Canadians.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Ryan MacDonald.