Piles of debris turning up on east coast beaches

  • May. 1, 2012 9:00 a.m.

By Jane Wilson-There has been a noticeable increase in beach debris washing up on the east coast of the Graham Island, particularly styrofoam, a surprise to people who were expecting the brunt of tsunami debris to be seen at North Beach.Cacilia Honisch and Carolyn Hesseltine live in Tlell and walk the beach daily.”There hasn’t been much this winter,” said Ms Honisch, “which is when most of the stuff normally comes in, because we have the high tides then.” The two regularly pick up garbage washed up on the beach as they do their daily walks.They say they started noticing more debris in March but it really got worse in the last couple of weeks. There’s also been a change in the flotsam that’s appearing.”Some of the styrofoam we’re getting is the stuff they use inside of boats or containers, it’s that big heavy yellow stuff and you can tell it’s been glued onto something else and there’s also wood on it as well,” said Ms Hesseltine. “There are the floats, but then there’s also structural styrofoam out there as well.”They have a pile of the waste they’ve collected since the middle of April, a pile that is now the size of a small car. “We can’t do the whole beach, but whichever way we walk we try to do it,” said Ms Hesseltine. “It’s a matter of, you can leave it for someone else, or you can do it yourself.”Islanders shouldn’t be surprised that the debris is turning up on the east side of the island, said oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer.”It’s not an unusual pattern,” he said, recalling a boatload of Nike shoes lost at sea in 1992. “Remember in the 90s, the sneakers were turning up on the east side.”Dr. Michael C. Healey, professor emeritus of biological oceanography at UBC, had a similar opinion.”Near the coast, winds and tides and freshwater inflow all complicate the current patterns, so debris washing up in apparently anomalous places is not a surprise,” he said.As for why the debris might pass by North Beach and end up on the east side, Dr. Healey said, “the water moving up the west coast of Haida Gwaii will move faster than the water through Hecate Strait. So there will be water spilling east around the north end of Haida Gwaii from the Haida current and coriolis force. The combination of these two flows (up the east side of Hecate Strait and along the north side of Haida Gwaii) sets up a southward drift along the east side of Haida Gwaii.” As more debris appears on Haida Gwaii, Ms Hesseltine and Ms Honisch suggest another reason why islanders might be interested in helping with the clean-up: Ms Honisch found a prized glass ball on one of their recent beach cleaning walks. “There’s a whole bunch of positive reasons to be collecting the stuff,” said Ms. Hesseltine, “but then there’s a prize for that, you just might get lucky.”

Just Posted

Haida Gwaii welcomes Hope in the Darkness

Holding a Sangan River walking stick, Bob Campbell set out from Old… Continue reading

X̱aad Kil office opens in Old Massett

More than anyone else, Blanche Bell speaks Haida with her children, who… Continue reading

Gwaii Haanas Report: Herring spawn and burrowing murrelets are telltale signs of spring

By Victoria Leslie As the storm season slows down, life begins to… Continue reading

Village of Masset gets set to manage local harbour

The idea was a long time in dock, but it’s nearly ready… Continue reading

Reverend Lily Bell wins Lions’ Lifetime Achievement Award

She loves dancing, singing and the colour yellow. She is a Raven,… Continue reading

Trans Mountain pipeline: How we got here

A look at the Kinder Morgan expansion, decades in the making

Suspected scammer attempts to use Black Press newspaper to dupe woman

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre offers tips after Langley resident received suspicious call

Vote points to abortion being legalized in Ireland

Voters asked whether to keep or repeal Eighth Amendment to Roman Catholic Ireland’s Constitution

COLUMN: Women’s breasts really aren’t that big a deal

A follow on some Princeton, B.C., students gained considerable exposure when they dropped their bras

Canadian soccer officials talk up World Cup bid at Champions League final

Current bid calls for 2026 World Cup games to be staged in the U.S., Canada and Mexico

B.C.’s devastating 2017 wildfire season revisited in new book

British Columbia Burning written by CBC journalist Bethany Lindsay

B.C. RCMP swoop in to save injured eagle

An eagle with a broken wing now in a recovery facility after RCMP rescue near Bella Coola

Bug spray 101: Health Canada wants you to stay bite free

Health Canada is reminding Canadians to use bug spray and other insect repellents safely

Most Read