SURREYâ€” About 20 students and staff from Surrey’s Kwantlen Student Association (KSA) pitched in to pick up trash and create a cleaner greenway on Wednesday, June 11.
As part of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup campaign – a conservation initiative put on by the Vancouver Aquarium, World Wildlife Foundation and Loblaw Companies Ltd. – the KSA chose to dig into an area near and dear to the university’s Surrey campus.
Picking up litter in the Serpentine Greenway from 71st Avenue down to 66th Avenue, the KSA’s director of external affairs, Jessica Lar-Son and sustainability coordinator, Mairi Lester, say they chose the area because of a little-known feature on the walk way.
"There’s a beaver pond that most of our staff and students on our council had no idea that was there. It’s probably, in the direct walk, about three minutes, so we kind of just wanted to raise awareness that there’s a natural habitat so close" Lester told the Now. "There’s really something we can do to raise awareness about how close we are to those types of environments and how much a part of our community they are."
As the greenway is walking distance from the campus, Lester also said it’s likely that students walk that route to school every day.
"It’s a greenway so it’s a multi-purpose pathway that connects quite a distance north and south along the power lines, so lots of community members use it. It’s very busy, there’s always people biking, so there are definitely students who do use that walkway as a connecting path [to Kwantlen]," she said.
In last year’s Great Canadian Shore Cleanup, which included several cleanup areas across B.C. spanning over 3,000 kilometres of land, 99,200 kilograms of litter piled together – including cigarette butts, food wrappers, musical instruments and more.
For the small area that the KSA has chosen to tidy up, they had to submit a data card detailing the weight of their litter, and if anything "particularly unusual (was) found," send a report to the GCSC. Since the group had accessed park lands, the City of Surrey picked up the trash bags at the end of the day for proper disposal.
"Kwantlen students are taking the initiative to contribute to a safer and cleaner space in our community," Lar-Son said in a statement, noting she was proud of the students’ participation.
The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup runs until July 31 at various locations, and interested groups can register at ShorelineCleanup.ca.