Volunteers needed for Coquitlam River cleanup

Last year, volunteers collected more than 500 bags of garbage found strewn along the shoreline of the Coquitlam River.   - SUMITTED PHOTO
Last year, volunteers collected more than 500 bags of garbage found strewn along the shoreline of the Coquitlam River.
— image credit: SUMITTED PHOTO

The first time Aaron Leckie participated in the Coquitlam River Cleanup, he was shocked at the amount of garbage collected by the volunteers.

These days, he is less surprised by the volume of trash recovered from the waterway and actually believes the problem is getting worse.

During the 2011 cleanup, more than 500 bags of garbage were collected and Leckie expects next weekend’s event to be the same.

“People aren’t getting the message,” said Leckie, who along with Riverside Fly and Tackle shop owner Garry Elgear, organizes the annual cleanup. “It is not surprising to me anymore. It seems to be getting worse.”

Next weekend, volunteers armed with tongs and plastic bags will be organized into groups, with each team given a different section of the river to focus their efforts.

The kinds of garbage volunteers find along the river can vary. Tires, furniture and household items are common and Leckie said participants have even found pieces from abandoned marijuana grow operations.

Smaller items, including six pack holders and shopping bags, can actually pose big problems and are a hazard to spawning fish and birds, he added.

“Some people just use it as a dumping ground,” he said. “It is not healthy for the river.”

The Coquitlam River Cleanup takes place on Oct. 21 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Those who wish to participate should meet at the Riverside Fly and Tackle shop (2847 Shaughnessy St., Port Coquitlam) prior to the start of the event.

Volunteers who sign up at the shop will automatically enter their names for several draw prizes.



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