Cleanup reveals alarming micro-plastics

After what seemed like an age, remediation work to restore grass to its original condition was under way a couple of weeks ago. Some of the work seemed unnecessary as the grass had re-grown quite nicely. Other areas definitely needed work.

Ground is taped off ready for the mulch / seed mix.

Not much remediation needed here but work was done regardless.

Yesterday, while out on a Raymore Park clean-up with members of the Sukyo Mahikari Church on Scarlett Road, we noticed that the mulch seed mixture was heavily contaminated with micro-plastic particles.

The mulch seed mixture as it was laid.

The mixture is contaminated with small plastic particles.

I’m not sure what level of such plastic is permitted (if any) but this is a danger to birds and other animals who no doubt have already scavenged through the mulch and ingested some of the particles. In hindsight, with this level of contamination, surely its preferable to allow nature to fill in the grass naturally than to contaminate the ground with easily ingestible pieces of plastic.

This looked like a contract job done under tender for the city. Remember the mantra that the private sector always does things better and cheaper?

This definitely wasn’t done better and I’ll bet it wasn’t cheaper either.

Raymore Park Cleanup this Sunday

Toronto Bell Cote Church at 691 Scarlett Road.

Another clean-up is being organized for Raymore Park – this time it’s by the Toronto Bell Cote Heritage Preservation people. They have the beautifully restored church at Kingdom and Scarlett Road.

The event will begin at 1:00 pm on Sunday, June 30th at which time light refreshments will be served. At 1:30 pm, the clean-up will begin, focussing on the riverbanks. Their route map will take them down to Eglinton which seems ambitious. Garbage bags will be provided but participants are asked to bring comfortable shoes and gloves.

  • Meeting Place: 691 Scarlett Road
  • Date: Sunday June 30.
  • Time: 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm.

Clean up day removes trash

I lent a hand to the clean-up of our adjacent green space to the north; Lions Park. I met with Weston Clean Team organizer Ryan Emerson Demchuk along with fellow volunteers Joanne and Bob and we moved along the Humber picking up trash as we went. No pictures to show today but lots of litter was removed. The good news is that much of the trash (that I picked up) was quite old; some pop cans had been there for a long time. The predominant trash seems to be water bottles (the triumph of marketing over need), coffee lids, straws, plastic bags and of course pop cans. Some interesting litter included dozens of dog poop bags at the entrance to the Hickory Tree apartments. Some resident (with a small dog) takes the trouble to gather up their dog’s poop but slings the bag into the bush before leaving the park. Aren’t people wonderful?

I left early but my fellow pickers were hard at it when I left.

To learn more about this Facebook group click here.

One last thing; a large twin-hulled canoe with about six people on board sailed majestically past as we worked the banks of the Humber. It was nice to see some rare boat traffic on the river.

Ice damage in wild area.

Some spring thaws are rougher than others but this year’s was particularly brutal. Many young trees were planted after recent construction work in the wild area past the curve in the river. Many of these trees have been destroyed by huge chunks of ice and torrents of water.

These trees (along with many others) have lost much of their bark after the annual inundation.

Looking south from above the dam, water and ice has stripped the bark from these young trees.

Sadly, there’s nothing to be done except plant more wisely in the future.

On the plus side, two observations; there’s very little garbage in the wild area and the pond formed in 2013 has survived the construction mess and the latest floods.

The pond and the protruding sewer cover (white – upper centre).

On another topic, the white object sticking out above the newly planted grass in the background is a visible reminder of the sewer relining that took place over the last couple of years. Hans Havermann’s excellent blog has an article complete with extensive photos of this sewer pipe cover and the engineering (or lack of) that has led to its striking prominence, damage and repair this February.

Blocks of ice weighing several tonnes overflow the Humber’s banks almost every year. Anything that protrudes above ground level is at risk.






Another clean up day

Last Saturday, several bags of litter were picked, mainly from along the entrance to Raymore Park and we had so much fun we decided to do it again. This Saturday, we focussed on the river’s edge near the footbridge and after that, the bush that runs along the backs of the houses on Tilden. Once more we removed a veritable trove of plastic containers, paint cans, and even found a gun stock stashed in a metal pipe along with some empty clips (which has been reported to the police).

Part of the haul of garbage and recyclables that my neighbour José (L) and I collected today.

The more we do, the more we find that it’s a big job that can’t be done in just one or two sessions.

We’re making this a regular event for a few weeks – If anyone would like to join us, meet at the Raymore Park gates at 11:00 am next Saturday, rain or shine. All welcome. You never know what we might find.

Update: a police office came quickly and examined the gun stock. It turned out to be quite old and likely  tossed out by a hobbyist. He seemed happy to be out of the office on such a nice day!

Park clean-up

Friends of Raymore Park will be holding a 1-2 hour clean-up on the first Saturday of each month at 11:00 am. We have contacted Councillor Holyday’s office to ask for bags and locations to stash the collected garbage. Our first clean-up day will be on Saturday, April 6. Meet at the park gates on Raymore Drive for supplies such as gloves and collecting bags. Our main focus will be the Raymore Park area and possibly along the pathway between the footbridge and the stairs leading to Hickory Tree Road.

Come and meet your neighbours and get some exercise while keeping our park clean – it promises to be a beautiful day.

Date: Saturday April 6, 11:00 am.
Place: Raymore Park gates at Raymore Drive.

Bull Thistles

Bull thistles are the most common thistle in Raymore Park. They are found throughout the park’s wild areas and despite the prickles, their leaves are a source of food to deer and rabbits while insects and hummingbirds feed on their nectar. Apparently the roots when boiled taste like a Jerusalem artichoke and the leaves can be cooked and served spinach-style. Bull thistles are another eurasian invader but seem to have found a niche without being too invasive.

A bee sips nectar from a bull thistle in Raymore Park’s wild area. Click to enlarge.