The banks of the Red Deer River and nearby trails were combed for garbage on Sunday during the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.
The national cleanup is a fall initiative to help keep waterways and shorelines clean and safe.
It follows the Red Deer River Cleanup held in June. Both are part of the city’s annual clean-up campaign Green Deer.
Suzanne Jubb, cleanup site co-ordinator, said it was great to see volunteers gather again before winter.
“This will be the first year we’ve actually had two cleanups.
“Because of weather, we end up having to cancel either the spring or the fall cleanup,” Jubb said.
About 40 volunteers picked up litter in areas around Kerry Wood Nature Centre and Great West Adventure BMX Park.
She said the number of volunteers was down, but more people were making the cleanup a family activity that helps educate children.
“I’ve been noticing that there are more and more families which is great to see. I’m excited to see the families out,” Jubb said.
Four canoeists and two kayakers also pulled litter from the river near those park areas.
The amount of litter removed during the cleanup wasn’t available on Sunday.
Volunteer Nova Brinsky, who picked up garbage along trails near Kerry Wood Nature Centre, was shocked by what fellow smokers were leaving behind.
“Look at that. That’s mostly cigarette butts. Isn’t that crazy,” said Brinsky, opening her garbage bag.
Ellen Chen, who came out to the cleanup with her young son, was busy collecting plastic bags, cigarette butts and pieces of broken glass along the road to the nature centre.
“On a hot day like today, it’s a little bit hard, but that’s okay. That’s how we can make it beautiful,” Chen said.
Red Deer City Coun. Dianne Wyntjes, who came prepared with rubber boots, said last year she collected three bags of garbage.
“I feel good about it, giving back to the community and helping mother earth,” Wyntjes said.
Last year an estimated 263 kilograms of garbage was collected over 10 km during the fall shoreline campaign. The trash filled 46 garbage bags and a few recycling bags, along with larger items like car parts and construction waste too big for bags.
“We’ve still got a lot of older garbage we need to address. We address it every year but there’s so much out there that it’s going to take us a few more years before we have a handle on that,” Jubb said.