Emma, Joel and Olivia Beriault were happy to help with the community cleanup on September 26.

By Denise Bacon

Saturday, September 26 was a glorious day with clear skies and bright, warm sunshine. No wonder the Port Union waterfront attracted many visitors from as far away as Oshawa, all wanting to take advantage of the beautiful lakefront and walking trails. This was the first of two days of the annual waterfront community cleanup.

Diana and Samantha, Grade 11 students at Mary Ward Catholic Secondary School in the L’Amoreaux community in north Scarborough, made the trip to Port Union Village Common Park to lend a hand. Samantha’s mom learned about this event through an Instagram post and let Sam know that this was a great way to get engaged and earn community volunteer hours.

Diana said she was surprised and hugely disappointed to find many brown McDonald’s bags filled with remnants of meals lying around. Sam was surprised to find garbage stuffed between the large boulders that line the waterfront. They picked up loads of plastic bottles and pop and beer cans, as well as lots of other trash. Both girls just could not understand the mentality of people who litter. “Why can’t they walk just a few steps to put trash in the garbage bins that are pretty convenient along the trail?” lamented Sam. Good question.

The Beriault family was out for their regular walk in the area and they were happy to help with the community cleanup effort. Dad, Joel, said that he and his girls, Emma and Olivia, walk after dinner most days and each time they go equipped with garbage bags and tongs and they pick up trash along the way. “I don’t get why people just throw garbage around,” said Joel, as he wistfully looked around at the trash on the Port Union Common right beside waste disposal bins.

Emma, who has just entered high school, already has a strong sense of civic responsibility. She picks up trash “or else it may end up in the lake or harm animals on the ground.” Olivia, a Grade 7 student, said that her whole family is worried about animals getting caught in plastic wrapping or in the strings attached to masks that are often lying around. The whole family is civic-minded and cleaning up while walking is part of their normal routine.

The next community waterfront cleanup event is scheduled for Saturday, October 17. Residents and visitors are encouraged to join in the effort to clean up our beautiful waterfront. Gloves and garbage bags will be provided if people do not bring their own. The two meeting points are: 1) Port Union Village Common Park at the foot of Port Union Rd., and 2) Rouge Beach Park at the end of Lawrence Ave. E.