The Rogers family in the shallows below Ohtaki Park make it a family outing at last year’s river clean-up.

The Rogers family in the shallows below Ohtaki Park make it a family outing at last year’s river clean-up.

Volunteers needed for Lake Cowichan’s river cleanup

Cleanup crew: The fifth annual Cowichan River cleanup and bottle drive takes place Saturday, August 17.

On Saturday, Aug. 17, the Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship Society will be hosting a Cowichan River cleanup and bottle drive around the upper section of the Cowichan River, according to a press release on the Cowichan Watershed Board website.

The fifth annual Cowichan River cleanup and bottle drive will begin at 9 a.m. and continue until 3 p.m.

If you wish to volunteer for the event, organizers ask that you join them for a free continental breakfast and registration at the Lake Cowichan Town Hall at 39 South Shore Rd.

“Normally for the upper river event, we generally get close to 100 volunteers,” says Gerald Thom, president of the Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship Society. “We are hoping for a similar number this year.”

The amount of garbage and recyclables pulled out of the river each year is improving, but the need for a yearly cleanup is still very necessary.

“During last year’s two-day event, we pulled out 1.7 tons of garbage and 4,000 empties,” says Thom. “It’s getting better every year though.”

Those who wish to volunteer should try to bring their own small aluminium boats or other floating device, such as a tube. People should also try to bring masks, snorkels, gloves, and footwear that is appropriate for the river, says the press release.

“We will provide snorkels and masks if people don’t have them, but if they do, it’s nice for them to bring them out,” says Thom.

Volunteers do not have to worry about the transportation of the garbage or the sorting of the recyclables, as those services are being offered by local businesses.

“The CVRD provides us with free dumping, and they provide a bit of insurance for volunteers, and so forth — it’s certainly a co-operative effort,” says Thom. “The garbage pickup is usually done by Mountain Man Services, and the Cowichan Bottle Depot provides a crew to sort and return the recyclables.”

This year, there are children’s activities and prizes for all those who volunteer.

The organizers of the event would like to ask that an adult accompany all children under the age of 14.

“Come on out and pitch in. It’s a lot of fun, and we provide snacks for breakfast and a barbecue at the end,” says Thom. “It generally makes for a pretty good day, and it’s a good way to explore the river.”