VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – It could be fishing equipment, a plastic bottle or just a cigarette butt. The problem of marine debris has been around for a long time and it doesn’t seem to be going away, according to Jill Dwyer with the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.

She says the blame doesn’t just go to the fishing industry; most of the garbage found in the ocean comes from people who spend their time playing along the shoreline.

“The majority of shoreline litter actually does originate on land from recreational activity, such as visiting your local beach and having a picnic, maybe going to festival,” explains Dwyer.

The marine debris isn’t just an eye-sore to humans; it’s a hazard to all sea creatures.

“Nobody wants to go and visit their favourite shoreline or waterway and see a bunch of garbage lying around. But for the animals that live there, they can even accidentally ingest the litter and choke on it or they can get entangled in it,” says Dwyer.

She feels this should be a concern to all of us, especially those who love seafood.

Dwyer says ocean pollution can end up making its way to our stomachs whenever we eat fish. “They’re finding evidence of it in our oceans… because plastic never goes away. It just breaks into smaller and smaller pieces.”

“They’re finding out that fish are eating the plastic and it’s moving up through the food chain and could be eventually be ingested by humans,” she warns.

With summer on its way, she’s reminding everyone to pick up their trash. If you want to take that one step further, you can take part in the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. It’s an annual event that happens in the third week of September.