News and Events

Bowen volunteers carry out ocean clean up

Photo opposite: Noam Olsson, Pam Matthews, and Arabelle Richer were a few of the dozens of volunteers who took part in an underwater cleanup in the Cove on Saturday. There was no shortage of items to haul up, and the sea is now quite a bit cleaner thanks to the efforts of all the divers and on-shore volunteers. To see just how many pounds were scooped out of the ocean – and what some of the stranger finds from last weekend’s search were – take a read of Pam Matthews’ recap of the day. / Submitted photo

Pam Matthews

Feb 3, 2023 2:30 PM

1,625. That is the number of pounds of garbage pulled out of the waters surrounding the Bowen Island marina and the government dock last Saturday.

It took over 3 hours and 25 volunteers consisting of more than 10 divers and support people to haul the ocean debris up and sort it. The clean-up was part of a movement called Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans where scuba and free divers donate their time to clean up the waters around the coast.

There was an incredible array of items that were retrieved from the depths, ranging from glass bottles to sailboat toilets to coffee makers! It is dismaying to think that while we live in such a beautiful and wealthy country, people can be so careless and unthinking about the importance of taking care of it.

But it is heartwarming to think that so many people are willing to put in the time and effort to help clean up that mess. I was especially grateful to see the young people who came to help.

They were enthusiastic about some of the crazy finds (an iPhone 14 for example) and they too were impacted by the amount of trash in our ocean.

They were inspired to get involved in more cleanups in the future as the work was rewarding and it was fun to be part of a community project with caring and like-minded folks. Once the debris is sorted, counted and weighed, some of it will be recycled but much of it is destined for the landfill.

However, a select few interesting pieces were claimed by Liz Nankin and Keith Shapland, who will be using the pieces as part of an art project they will be creating with students from around the lower mainland at a sustainability conference later this month.

Many thanks to the divers and the volunteers as well as Amber Spitkovski for organizing the event, and to Bowen Waste and the Municipality for taking care of disposing of the debris.

Pam Matthews
Science Teacher Grades 6-9
Outdoor Expeditions Coordinator
and Gr 8 Home Room Teacher