Plastic bags and cigarette butts: new data from TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup finds perception "butts" reality

    Majority of Canadians (52%) are taking environmental action because it is
    "just something I do," while one in five (20%) credit the media for
    inspiring them to be environmentally-friendly

    TORONTO, Aug. 20 /CNW/ - Nearly half of Canadians (49%) believe plastic
bags are the number one pollutant on our shorelines according to new survey
findings from the TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, despite the fact
cigarette butts are consistently the number one item recovered during the
annual cleanup. The survey found only 18% of Canadians believe cigarette butts
are the top culprit affecting our shorelines.
    "Cigarette butts pose a significant danger to wildlife, yet for some
reason many Canadians don't think of them as litter," said Eric Solomon, Vice
President of Conservation, Research and Education, Vancouver Aquarium. During
last year's TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, participants removed more
than 270,000 cigarette butts from shorelines.
    One of the largest annual shoreline cleanups in the world, over 50,000
Canadians participated in last year's TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup and
this year organizers are hoping for 70,000 volunteers to help protect the
environment and wildlife by removing garbage from our shorelines. Running from
September 20-28, 2008 at more than 1,000 cleanup sites across the country,
this national event invites volunteers to participate by removing harmful
waste from around local ponds, streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans.
    "Canada is home to the world's largest freshwater supply and yet keeping
our waters safe and unspoiled is still not a priority for most Canadians,"
said Roger St. Louis, Regional Manager, TD Friends of the Environment
Foundation. "We collected nearly 90 tonnes of garbage during last year's TD
Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup - and unfortunately, we'll recover even more
this year."

    Help is on the way

    Are Canadians walking the talk? The survey found that one in five (22%)
Canadians say they're volunteering on a monthly basis to make their community
more environmentally-friendly, with BC and Alberta residents most likely to
volunteer each month, at 34% each.
    Besides volunteering, more than half (58%) of Canadians say they are
taking deliberate action to reduce their impact on the environment by
disposing of waste properly and recycling. Canadians 55 and over are the
country's most active recyclers (69%) compared to less than half (46%) of
Canadians aged 18-34. Regionally, residents of Manitoba and Saskatchewan (70%)
are the most likely to recycle and dispose of waste properly.
    Canadians say they are also reducing energy consumption by turning off
lights and electronics (16%) and driving less (12%). However, only 7% of
Canadians say they are purchasing products with less packaging and only 4% are
buying organic/locally grown foods.
    "Half of Canadians say they're being environmentally-friendly because
it's 'just something they do'," reported Solomon. "Clearly Canadians have the
environment on their minds and many are taking personal action to make a
difference. The TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is a great way to get

    Top Environmental Issues

    When asked to rank environmental issues facing Canada in order of

    -   More than one third (37%) of Canadians say that reducing greenhouse
        gas emissions is their top environmental concern;
    -   One in four (25%) say improving air quality is their most pressing
        environmental issue; in Ontario 31% say it is a crucial issue;
    -   Twenty per cent of Canadians feel that conserving our forest,
        protecting our wildlife and creating more parks and green spaces is a
    -   Sixteen per cent of Canadians say that our shorelines are an
        environmental priority with Alberta and the Atlantic region (23%
        each) placing the most emphasis on our shores.

    "We're celebrating the 15th anniversary of the TD Great Canadian
Shoreline Cleanup - a perfect occasion to inspire and unite Canadians to take
action and help clean up our lakes, rivers and streams," continued St. Louis.
"We can make a difference together to ensure our shorelines are both safe for
plants and animals and beautiful to enjoy for future generations."

    About the TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup

    TD Bank Financial Group has been a proud sponsor of the TD Great Canadian
Shoreline Cleanup, a Vancouver Aquarium conservation program, through its TD
Friends of the Environment Foundation for more than 12 years. In 2007, a
record-breaking 50,000 volunteers participated in the national cleanup and
removed 87,489 kilograms of garbage from 1,240 sites spanning a collective
distance of 1,772 kilometres. Now in its 15th year, this year's TD Great
Canadian Shoreline Cleanup takes place from September 20-28, 2008. To
register, visit

    About the Survey

    The TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup survey was conducted by Angus
Reid Strategies on June 26, 2008 among a randomly selected, representative
sample of 1,007 Canadians 18+. The maximum margin of error is +/- 3.1% 19
times out of 20.

For further information:

For further information: Annette Robertson, MAVERICK Public Relations
for TD Bank Financial Group, (416) 640-5525 ext. 231,;
Jacqueline Burns, TD Bank Financial Group, (416) 308-0177,; Jean Fong, Vancouver Aquarium, (604) 659-3561,

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