Spring has sprung! The entire month of April saw UHN staff celebrating Earth month with 5 themed weeks of being Green. However, what better way to wrap up Earth month than by taking advantage of the warm Spring weather and taking care of our local ecosystems!

That is exactly what 37 keen individuals sought to do as UHN staff, Green team members, friends and family came together for our first Green team in-person event of… well a long time. On April 30th, we set on a mission to join the Great Canadian Shoreline Clean up and add to the 6,672kg of trash collected along Canadian shorelines.

It is important to understand the impacts of shoreline litter. Year after year garbage is found on our shorelines becoming a threat to local wildlife as they can be entangled or ingesting trash left behind. Micro-plastics are the worst offenders as they break up into smaller fragments and never disappear. The micro-plastics can attract toxins and enter the food chain from phytoplankton all the way to humans! That is why I am pleased to say that a distance of 4.5km of shoreline was cleaned, with a total of 42kg of garbage collected!

The oddest items (not listed below) were a full-sized shopping cart (on the rocks, near the water) and a wig. The teams that netted the oddest items won Two virtual WWF adoption prizes. Congrats Logan and Sasha!

UHN North Cleans Up

A big shoutout also goes to our Northern cluster friends at Lyndhurst/Rumsey – who held a North Campus Park Cleanup on April 27th. This small, determined and cold-hardy group managed to fill 9 garbage bags from the nearby trails. Thank you Bronwen and Caterina for organizing the clean-up (talk about UHN doing the most!). Interested in how you can take part of our Green events? Email Green@uhn.ca to join the team!

Caterina Conte and Bronwen Moore, the organizers of the Lyndhurst/Rumsey cleanup

What we found at the Shoreline Clean up

These are some of the most commonly littered items that are so ubiquitous, WWF tracks them specially. Note the huge amount of plastics, food wrappers and cigarette butts. This is a great reminder to take care of even the smallest things, and move away from single use anything to go reusable …

Beverage cans32
Bottle caps118
Cigarette butts761
Clothing or shoes13
Coffee cups and lids29
Construction materials12
Diapers, wipes, tampons, condoms7
Fishing buoys, pots, or traps2
Fishing net and line0
Food containers (i.e. yogurt cups, juice boxes)44
Food wrappers437
Glass bottles11
Large styrofoam2
Personal protective equipment (i.e. gloves, masks)8
Plastic bags1
Plastic bottles5
Plastic cups8
Plastic pieces404
Rigid plastic bottles and jugs1
Rope (1m = 1 piece)7
Soft plastic packaging158
Styrofoam pieces93
Takeout containers6

Big thanks to amazing Green Teamers, Jennifer Ryan and Veronica Deally for helping organize this event with me. Many hands make light work (and cleaner shorelines).