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Niagara Falls
Monday, April 15, 2024
Getting the bad out of Lake Ontario


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The fourth annual Lake Ontario beach cleanup kicked off at Queen’s Royal Park in Niagara-on-the-Lake on Sunday.

Love Your Lake is a program run by A Greener Future, a non-profit organization. The annual cleanup starts in NOTL and ends in Kingston, making 100 stops to pick up litter along the way.

This year, 60 volunteers helped pick up 4,221 pieces of litter in less than two hours, said Rochelle Byrne, the founder of A Greener Future.

Last year, 3,456 pieces of litter were collected in NOTL with 47 people helping tidy up the park’s waterfront.

Byrne said it was amazing to see how many people in a small community, like NOTL, were willing to come out.

“Because even some of our bigger cleanups, like in Toronto, we don’t see this many people,” she told The Lake Report. “I think it’s a strong community and it has a big impact on the cleanup because people care about this area and they want to see it clean.”

Again this year, Paddle Niagara teamed up with A Greener Future to pull the event together. Tim Balasiuk, owner of Paddle Niagara, said a boat was used to fish out some litter from the lake.

He said he was glad how the event turned out despite the increased amount of trash picked up this year.

“I’m guessing we probably pulled out somewhere around 600 pounds of trash including spare tires, chunks of steel, massive pieces of Styrofoam, lots of plastic bottles,” he said.

Byrne said the amount of garbage isn’t always because of people littering on purpose, but can be due to trash being washed up from different areas or being blown out from bins on a windy day.

David Postman, one of the participants, agreed. Out of two other cleanup events he participated in – one in Canmore, Alta., and another in Invermere, B.C. – NOTL’s had the best turnout.

“I feel that the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake and its residents share strong values towards their environment and you can see that with the turnout of 50-plus people” he said.

“I think in this day and age, we’re all about convenience and convenience sometimes leads to more waste… Even if you don’t come out to these events, anyone around the community can do their part,” Postman said.

Greg Kanters came to the cleanup with his two children, 10-year-old Noah and Lily, 9.

“Do not pollute,” said Noah when asked what the kids learned from the event while Lily added there was a lot of garbage, particularly plastic straws and Styrofoam.

“(We came) to help the environment,” said Noah.

“We’re done with (using plastic straws), I think,” added Kanters.

Coun. Norm Arsenault was also in attendance.

“People don’t realize what this stuff is doing. This stuff isn’t going away,” he told The Lake Report. “This plastic garbage is here for life.”

The next Love Your Lake cleanup is at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 11, at Sunset Beach in St. Catharines.

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