Volunteers clean up Thornbury seafront

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The small team at Georgian Bay Forever keeps a collection of the interesting debris and trash they found during their cleanup days.

A McDonald’s coffee mug from the 80s. A can of Coca-Cola Classic. A squat, twisted soda bottle. And lots of cigarette butts; more than can be counted.

These are just some of the many trash, plastics and other debris that Georgian Bay Forever volunteers have found in local waters during their clean-up days this summer.

Perhaps the biggest headache was a plastic shopping bag, almost always usable, from Valley Foods in Collingwood. Some historical research has revealed that Valley Foods was once located many years ago in the building that is now Giant Tiger.

“It’s wild, the things we find,” said Ashley Morrison, project manager for Collingwood Divert and Capture: The fight to keep microplastics out of the water, “it shows things don’t break down.”

The small team at Georgian Bay Forever keeps a collection of the interesting debris and trash they found during their cleanup days.

The team was at Thornbury Little River Park on Monday, July 25 to coordinate a volunteer riverside cleanup day. Two more cleanup days will take place in Thornbury on August 8 and 22 from 1 to 3 p.m.

The group is also in Wasaga Beach at Beach 3 every Monday from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and in Collingwood at Sunset Point every Tuesday from 9 a.m. to noon. Volunteers are always welcome to participate, help with cleanup efforts and learn more.

While at Thornbury, the crew checked out a Seabin located at F Dock. They removed the debris collected from the bin, characterized what was found, and recorded the results of their data collection efforts.

“There are little bits of microplastics that are hidden in the vegetation,” Morrison said.

Talking to a journalist from CollingwoodToday.caa local volunteer approached the Georgian Bay Forever tent carrying a large piece of steel rebar that was found in the water not far from where the children were playing and swimming.

Morrison explained that Georgian Bay Forever is looking for volunteers to have a microfiber filter installed on their home washing machine. They hope to reach a total of 300 filters in homes which will provide them with a solid amount of data on filter efficiency.

All local residents are welcome to volunteer for the project, as long as they are in their homes full time.

The filters collect all the lint and debris that is thrown around during a laundry cycle. Every few months, Georgian Bay Forever collects the material, weighs it, and sends it to be analyzed for plastic content.

“It helps add to our data and the end goal is to help drive policy change,” Morrison said.

Eventually, the filters could be installed in all washing machines at the manufacturer level.

“We’re a small group of people who work for this charity, but we do a lot of different projects,” Morrison said.

Georgian Bay Forever’s Emma Christensen is hosting a microfiber workshop at the Collingwood Public Library on August 4 from 1-3 p.m. and she promised the highlight of the day would be when she teaches the group how to transform an old tee t-shirt in tote bag. using only scissors. Anyone interested in registering can do so at: [email protected]

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