Dozens of volunteers gather Sunday to clean up Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park

Dozen of volunteers gathered on Sunday at Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park to help clean up shoreline garbage left by parkgoers.

This year’s annual cleanup is gathering some of the trash left by spring flooding while the water level is down.

“Because the water was so high, it came, right? The garbage, the waste came from other places, and it stays here because we have a good amount of vegetation,” said Renata Machado of the Assiniboine Park Conservancy.

Volunteers were provided with instructions, garbage bags, rubber gloves, pickers, snacks, and coffee.

Children were also welcome to come help so long as they had a parent present if they were under the age of 14.

Young Winnipegger Nicolas Keam wasn’t expecting to spend his Sunday morning bushwacking along the Assiniboine River but he also didn’t realize how much litter he’d find off the beaten path.

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Nicolas Keam. Rosanna Hempel / Global News

“We found a lot of garbage, mostly these clear plastic things that are pretty small,” he said.

Keam was just one of the dozens lending a hand in cleaning up the banks and wooded areas at the park.

“It’s sad, you know, all the plastic. There’s paper cups. There’s drink containers, all that … lots of wrappers,” said Evelyn Carruthers, a volunteer.

The volunteers have expressed hopes that people would take more care to protect the soil, water quality and wildlife.

“It is estimated 13 million tons of plastic end up in our lakes, rivers, and oceans. Waste in our waterways can be harmful to wildlife, negatively impacts water quality, and detracts from the natural beauty of these places,” said Marc Brandson, Curator of Animal Care, Assiniboine Park Zoo.

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Read more: Point Douglas residents take it upon themselves to clean up debris, garbage

Machado encourages Manitobans to shake some of their pandemic habits.

“Bring their own reusable containers, to use a coffee cup, to really think about the waste they’re generating on a daily basis.”

The event was part of the Ocean Wise Shoreline Cleanup — a conservation program that provides Canadians across the country the opportunity to take action in their communities wherever water meets land, one bit of trash at a time.

“Coming together as a community to clean up the Park and the shoreline of the Assiniboine River is something we can all do to make a difference,” said Brandson.

With files from Rosanna Hempel

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