Coastal Connections: Do you know what’s in your harbour?

Rural resilience researchers, Dr. Sondra Eger and Jackie Bauman host another episode of Coastal Routes Radio, a radio program made up of an international collaboration of communities, scholars, activists, and others who are dedicated to supporting the health, resilience, and sustainability of coastal communities around the world. Coastal Connections is a volume of Coastal Routes Radio, produced in partnership with the University of Guelph and Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland. For more information, visit their website:

In this episode, cohosts speak with Shawn Bath and Staunene Whalen of Clean Harbours Initiative (CHI), an organization dedicated to cleaning litter from Newfoundland harbours and educating the public about the issues associated with marine plastic pollution. Since CHI was established in 2018, Shawn has conducted 50 harbour cleanups and removed an estimated 50,000 lbs of ocean trash.

Shawn spent 21 years as a commercial sea urchin diver and is familiar with the impacts that litter has on ocean floors. During cleanups, CHI volunteers have hauled up a large volume of marine pollution, including tires, bottles, fishing gear, etc., each of which can have various negative impacts on the environment. For example, Shawn shares knowledge on bioaccumulation of microplastics in the seafood we eat and how bottles can trap certain marine organisms. By working to clean up the ocean floor, CHI efforts have worked towards restoring NL Harbours and protecting human and marine health.

Removing the pollution from the ocean is only half the battle. The trash needs to be sorted and material needs to be properly recycled or diverted. Staunen has come up a one creative solution: turn sea glass and other litter into beautiful jewelry. While CHI depends predominantly on donation for their initiatives (donate here), you can help raise money by shopping the sea glass collection:

To listen to the full episode and learn how you could contribute to CHI, click here:

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