Nunavut leads the way in shoreline cleanups?


I was excited to read Deputy Minister Simon Awa’s letter regarding the tremendous sense of environmental stewardship demonstrated by many Nunavut communities during recent cleanups.

Those of us in the south whose lives tend to be far more removed from our natural environment stand to learn a lot from Nunavummiut perspectives on environmental stewardship — Avatittinnik Kamatsiarniq.

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup was created nearly 17 years ago from community cleanups just like the one held in Iqaluit in June.

Every September, GCSC now engages tens of thousands of people across Canada, working to grow our sense of environmental stewardship and provide the means for communities to take action toward cleaner and safer shorelines.

Last year, the community of Taloyoak organized the largest GCSC cleanup in Canada at Stanners Harbour. Nearly 340 community members participated in the event to remove harmful debris from the local shoreline.

Although Nunavut has one of the lowest population sizes in Canada, Nunavummiut had the highest participation rate per capita of any province or territory last year.

As Mr. Awa indicated, our challenge is to prevent debris and litter from making its way into our environment. And as we continue to challenge ourselves to reduce, re-use and recycle, it is inspiring to see so many Nunavummiut communities coming together to remove the harmful debris that does find its way into our ecosystem — an example that many of us to the south would do well to follow.

To participate in this year’s Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, visit

Eric Solomon
Director of Arctic Programs
Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre

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