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Calling all beachcombers

cleanup volunteers with wheelSea Island is home to one of the biggest buildings in B.C. (YVR's main terminal), some 24,000 employees, three elevated train stations, hundreds of metres' worth of baggage belts - and a couple of beaches. One of them - Iona Beach Regional Park -  is set to host the kick-off event for the 20th Annual Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup on Saturday, September 21 at 10 a.m.

From cigarette butts and six-pack holders to plastic bags and even tires (see photo above), a startling amount of litter makes its way onto B.C.'s shores every year. For the second year running, Vancouver Airport Authority has been the provincial sponsor of this important cleanup event, focusing on the piece of shoreline in our own backyard. We've also challenged other airports across B.C. to host cleanups.

Located on the north side of Sea Island, Iona Beach Regional Park is a favourite local destination for beachcombers, dog walkers and cyclists. The beach marks the spot where the Fraser River meets the Strait of Georgia, and where thousands of migratory birds stop over on their way north and south on teh Pacific Flyway. Beyond the shore, a year-round population of about 85 Orca (Killer Whales) calls the Strait home.

We're looking for volunteers to join Team YVR to collect as much litter as possible over a two-hour period. Sign up and you'll be armed with clean-up gear, sustained with snacks and entertained by a live DJ. And no cleanup would be complete without prizes, which will be awarded for the most obscure litter item, the heaviest bag collected and other interesting discoveries.

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is one of the largest direct action conservation programs in the country. Over its 20-year history, more than 500,000 volunteers have cleaned roughly 21,775 km of shorelines, the equivalent length of crossing Canada three times end to end, and collection approximately 1.2 million kg of shoreline litter, the approximate weight of 259 school buses.

To register for the cleanup at Iona Beach, email community_relations@yvr.ca. To get to the site, take Canada Line to Templeton Station, where you can catch a free shuttle bus to the beach and back.  See you there!

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