This year’s Earth Day clean up, initiated by the Ottawa Riverkeeper and the Westboro Beach Neighbourhood Association, saw volunteers of all ages come out to clean Westboro Beach. The cold, damp morning of Saturday, April 22 – and recent flooding – did not deter children, seniors and families from showing up.
Ottawa Riverkeeper – a licensed member of Waterkeeper Alliance, an international grassroots advocacy organization – is an independent voice for the Ottawa River. Its mandate is to protect, promote and improve the health of the Ottawa River and its tributaries.
Meredith Brown is the current Riverkeeper and Executive Director since 2004. The organization has grown to include hundreds of volunteers who guard the Ottawa River from Temiskaming all the way to Montreal.
The Waterkeeper’s job is to advocate compliance with environmental laws, to respond to citizen complaints, identify problems with the body of water and recommend solutions. Waterkeepers ensure that communities maintain control over their local waterways when threatened by development, industrialization or toxic pollution. Part of this monitoring is a pollution hotline at 1-888-9KEEPER where the public can report any problems observed.
The cleanup was part of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, an event led jointly by the Vancouver Aquarium and the World Wildlife Fund Canada.