World Clean Up Day reveals troublesome finds in Halifax Harbour
Published Saturday, September 15, 2018 6:04PM ADT
Last Updated Saturday, September 15, 2018 6:54PM ADT
The World Clean Up Day litter pick up of Halifax Harbour is revealing some of the worst finds in more than two decades. It all follows an oil spill just weeks ago in Halifax Harbour, but that’s not the only problem.
“It’s relatively weathered but it you turn over rocks it’s more vicious and volatile and liquid, and this would be toxic to marine life,” says Mark Butler, policy director at Halifax’s Ecology Action Centre.
Butler has been taking part in World Clean Up Day for more than two decades, and says today’s mess was the worst he’s ever seen.
On August 2nd, Nova Scotia Power employees discovered an oil spill at Tufts Cove. The utility says while 5000 litres went into Halifax Harbour, new numbers revealed 20,000 litres leaked in and around the plant.
Nova Scotia Power is still investigating exactly how the leak happened, and the clean-up is ongoing.
In a statement to CTV News, NS Power spokesperson Tiffany Chase says “we are making steady progress and the clean-up continues at this time. We will provide further updates as they are available.”
“We look forward to hearing from NS Power why it happened and how they’ll make sure it won’t happen again,” says Butler.
But it’s not just the oil and tar tarnishing the waters. They’re also picking up bags and bags of garbage along the shore. This year they’re not only identifying the products, but the makers of the waste polluting shorelines, green spaces and communities.
“We want to shine a light on the corporations who are contributing and who are indeed the source of this plastic epidemic,” says Brigid Rowan, co-chair of Green Peace.
They’ll be using twitter and the hashtag #IsThisYours to identify the corporate owners, and they’ve found one product that could easily be diverted or eliminated.
“What I find particularly disconcerting is literally hundreds and hundreds of tampon applicators. Plastic tampon applicators like the Playtex ones must be flushed down the toilet, and somehow end up in our water and on our shorelines,” adds Rowan.
The plastic problem caused by humans becomes a health threat for not only nature but people too.
“Unfortunately it’s pretty common right around Atlantic Canada to find this much plastic on our beaches and we have to stop that flow, because as we’re starting to learn, what happens to plastic is it doesn’t go away, it breaks down into smaller pieces, micro plastic and then that plastic starts to enter the food chain, say for example into seafood and the we start eating it,” explains Butler.
Similar clean-ups and corporate garbage taggings are also happening in Montreal and Toronto. Results will be released in early October.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Marie Adsett.