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Cowichan River volunteer numbers down, but so is amount of garbage
This year’s Cowichan River clean-up saw fewer volunteers take part.
But any disappointment on that end was quickly countered by the fact there was less garbage to clean up.
Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship Society president Gerald Thom said this year’s two-day clean-up resulted in about 90% of the river being cleaned.
Day one saw the top portion of the river swept, from the weir to Sandy Pools in Sahtlam. Day two took the volunteers from Sandy Pools to the Cowichan estuary.
This year one tonne of garbage was cleaned from the river, while less than 4,000 recyclable articles were removed.
Thom described this as a large improvement from last year’s 1.7 tonnes of garbage and more than 4,000 recyclables.
“Beer cans, and broken inflatable rubber rafts are probably the most common items,” said Thom.
“I think people are becoming more responsible, and I think the river clean-up events help raise the awareness.”
He said — like in just about any other similar situation —it is usually a small number of people who are in the wrong.
“Two to five percent of the population just don’t give a damn,” said Thom. “We will probably be cleaning up after them until the earth ends.”
Thom believes they are making a great impact on the river, and the amount of old garbage being removed each year is less, and less. The greatest find this year was a heritage rowboat, which could not be removed because it was filled with sand.
“In past years we have had more interesting items,” says Thom. “I think we are slowly getting most of the interesting stuff out of the river.”
Once again, the members of Sundown Diving Club in Nanaimo joined the volunteers, and scoured the river bottom for items.
The Cowichan Valley Regional District provided insurance for the volunteers, and allows the river cleanup garbage to be dumped for free. BRI Security provides radios so the river clean-up team could communicate with one another.