People Power Challenge Shoreline Cleanup

Our waterways and green spaces need our help!

In this time of physical distancing, we can continue to clean and protect our natural areas by doing individual shoreline cleanups.

woman wearing heavy gloves participates in shoreline cleanup event
TRCA team member steps carefully over uneven ground while taking part in shoreline cleanup event
man wearing heavy gloves participates in shoreline cleanup event

Every bag of garbage one of us picks up contributes to our collective goal of keeping plastics and other materials out of our waterways and beautifying our local environment.

Even cleaning green spaces that aren’t near shorelines contributes to this goal — all litter eventually makes its way into our lakes, rivers, and streams.

Here’s how you can help — and how to do it responsibly!

Safety First!

Cleanups are fun when there’s more than just one!
Please do the cleanup with a household member or person in your social bubble so that no one is going alone. Make sure you practice proper physical distancing and observe all restrictions applicable to your region.

Take care of your body!
Stay within your physical limits. Stretch before and after, and take rests as needed.

Stick to publicly accessible green spaces!
Any publicly accessible green space adjacent to a waterway can be a great place for a shoreline clean up. Some ideas:

Practice water safety!
Keep a good distance between you and waterways — especially after a large rain event.

Mind those trip and fall hazards!
Keep an eye out for things like tree roots, uneven ground, slick terrain, or a hiding boulder, as these can result in a fall.

Do not pick up sharps!
Sharps is a medical term for devices with sharp points or edges that can puncture or cut skin, such as needles or syringes. In Toronto, Brampton, or Mississauga, call 311 for proper disposal.

Limit your cleanup to what you can see!
Do not reach into any area you cannot see clearly, such as dense brush.

When you’re all done, do a tick check!
Ticks are small, blood-sucking bugs. They can can be as small as a pin head, or as large as a pencil eraser. They have eight legs, and can range in colour from brown to reddish brown and black. Some ticks carry Lyme disease. It is important to check your whole body — and your pets! — for ticks after spending time in woods, tall grass, and other green spaces. LEARN MORE.

community members take part in shoreline cleanup event at local publicly accessible greenspace
glass bottles and jars in recycling bin
two women celebrate completion of successful shoreline cleanup event

Your Cleanup Kit

Clothing & Protective Items:

  • Closed-toed or safety shoes
  • Appropriate clothing for weather conditions
  • Gloves (thick gardening gloves would be best)
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Hat
  • Face mask

Cleanup Supplies:

  • Garbage or recycling bags
  • A garbage picker if you have one

Track Your Impact

Clean Swell App

  • Refer to the Clean Swell Guide for information on how to download, use and log waste collection information using the Clean Swell App.
  • Make sure you use the Project ID PPC2020 so we can track our collective impact.


introduction to the Clean Swell app
tips for using the Clean Swell app

Select the images above to view full-sized.

Dump the Junk

  • Take the collected waste home.
  • Sort out recyclables. Please note that items with food or dirt residue cannot be recycled. If they can be cleaned, please do so and place in the recycling bin. If not, please place them in the garbage. (It’s unfortunate, but better they end up in the trash than in our lakes, rivers, and streams.)
  • Give yourself a big pat on the back for a job well done!

Celebrate and Share

You’ve done a wonderful thing! Now it’s time to celebrate!

  • Share pics of your clean up via social media, tagging @TRCA_HQ and #ppc2020.
  • Send those pics to your People Power Challenge champion, so you can earn points for your team.
  • Throw yourself a clean-up party! You did great work, now you deserve some rest.