In total, volunteers have collected 16,750 bags of garbage and recyclables from the beaches of McNabs and Lawlor Islands Provincial Park and Fort McNab National Historic Site over the past 33 years. This cleanup is the longest-running and largest cleanup in the Maritimes!
Ghost Gear Marine Fisheries Debris continues to be a significant part of the garbage collected from the beaches, though the number of lobster traps collected this year was down. Lobster bands, tags and bait bags, broken fish crates, and lobster traps as well as Styrofoam of varying sizes, and a dozen tires were hauled off the beaches.
Unusual items found on the beaches included a weathered $10 and $20 bill. The plastic coating on the bills had worn off adding more micro-plastics to the ocean. Various items of clothing including dresses, underwear, hats and shoes were also found.
The bulk of the items collected continue to be plastics which deteriorate into micro-plastics over time but stay in the environment for centuries. Plastic tampon applicators from the sewage system and Tim Horton’s coffee cups continue to litter the beaches.
Thanks to teams from McInnes Cooper, CBCL, Butterfield Support Services, Halifax and Hammonds Plains Pathfinders, the Alnass Community Association and many individuals and families who volunteered to pick up garbage that littered the island park. Support for the cleanup this year came from Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Ghost Gear Fund.
The Friends of McNabs Island Society is a volunteer-driven registered charity dedicated to preserving and protecting McNabs and Lawlor Islands Provincial Park and Fort McNab National Historic Site. Since 1990, the Friends of McNabs have improved the trails and park facilities, organized community beach cleanups, offered guided tours to island visitors and this year opened an Outdoor Education Centre on the island – making McNabs Island a welcoming park for everyone.