Yesterday afternoon, the Waterloo Wetland Laboratory held its second annual wetland cleanup at the wetland near Fischer-Hallman Road and Columbia Street. Bags, gloves, and garbage pickers were provided for all participants. The event brought together anyone that wanted to spend some time in nature and help the environment.
Rebecca Rooney, associate professor in the department of biology, said that “the goal of the cleanup is to collect the litter from the wetland before it turns into microplastics and enters the downstream environment.” The activity also aimed to help people recognize and appreciate their relationship with local ecosystems. “By taking meaningful action to improve things around us, we can draw greater motivation to tackle larger issues like climate change,” Rooney added.
Rooney explained that the cleanups began last year as a result of policies in Ontario, such as the More Homes Built Faster Act, which would increase the number of minister’s zoning orders (MZOs). MZOs allow ministers of municipal affairs to override local authorities when it comes to construction projects, meaning that property development can begin without consultation from experts. As such, many environmental groups have outlined that wetlands would be put under jeopardy. According to Rooney, last year’s cleanup gave participants a real sense of accomplishment and made them feel good about their efforts to preserve local wetlands.
Learn more about the Wetland Laboratory and their projects here.