Poll finds young adults are leading litterbugs

One out of every three Canadians – and half of all young adults ages 18 to 24 admit to littering, according to a new poll sponsored by the TD Great Canadian Shoreline Clean­up (GCSC).

A national environmental conservation initiative, the TD GCSC was started by the Vancouver Aquarium in 1994 and is expected to attract up to 75,000 registrants to clean up over 1,500 shoreline sites across Canada from Sept. 19 to 27.

The poll indicates that while more than one third (39 per cent) of Canadians claim they take action when they see someone littering – from telling the litterbug to pick it up to quietly doing it themselves – 20 per cent of these do-gooders admit to littering themselves.

“We are encouraged to see that a fair number of Canadians are willing to take action against litter, but many of us still need to clean up our act,” said Mary Desjardins, executive director, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.

“By recruiting thousands of Canadians to register each year, the cleanup has become a catalyst for increasing our nation’s awareness and appreciation of our beautiful natural shorelines.”

Here are some poll results:

– young adults (18 to 24) litter most frequently, with 17 per cent admitting they do it at least once a week, almost twice as often as 25 to 34 year olds (eight per cent);

– adults age 25 to 34 led the pack in doing nothing if they see someone littering (63 per cent);

– Canadians over 65 are the most litter-conscientious, with 86 per cent saying they “never” litter; and

– women are more in tune with Mother Nature when it comes to litter: 74 per cent say they never litter, but only 63 per cent of men say that.

Get involved

The shoreline cleanup is one of the largest in the world. It is a national Vancouver Aquarium conservation initiative encouraging Canadians to have a positive impact on their environment by removing harmful litter from their local shorelines, including ponds, streams, rivers, lakes and oceans.

The event begins on International Coastal Cleanup Day, Sept. 19, and runs to Sept. 27. To volunteer as a site coordinator, register your own cleanup team or join an existing one, visit www.tdgcsc.ca.