Kits Beach: learning with marine debris

Hundreds of Vancouverites will participate in the biggest beach cleanup of the season at Kits Beach, Canada, on the 12th April, at 11am.

The public event run by Surfrider Foundation Vancouver and SPEC offers participants a chance to see the impacts of tsunami debris and local waste on our oceans, during the Earth Month.

"Even on a local beach that's cleaned weekly by the city, we find large amounts of trash from both beachgoers and what is washed up by the ocean. Our research shows that the biggest culprits in Vancouver tend to be cigarette butts and to-go containers," explains Matthew Unger, from Surfrider.

Last year, this event cleared over 500 pounds of garbage off of Kitsilano Beach, which is considered one of Vancouver's cleanest beaches.

Over six million tonnes of litter enter our oceans each year, not including additional debris from tsunamis.

The threats posed by this debris extends beyond the ocean ecosystems. Research on marine life shows that emerging issues like microplastics and rising acidity impact everything from the smallest plankton to the biggest whales, and even humans.

Last year, more than a billion people depended on the ocean for food, employment and enjoyment.