Star of the award-winning article, Patrick Donaghy, is in charge of the 7 Mile Landfill between Port Hardy and Port McNeill. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)

Star of the award-winning article, Patrick Donaghy, is in charge of the 7 Mile Landfill between Port Hardy and Port McNeill. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)

Environmental writing award nets donation to local beach cleaners

North Island Gazette’s Ma Murray award came with a $500 donation

Last year Local Journalism Initiative reporter Zoe Ducklow wrote about everything the 7 Mile Landfill team does to divert waste from the landfill — Trash is the last resort for Mount Waddington’s garbage men. The article won gold at the annual Ma Murray Awards under the Environmental Initiative category.

Award sponsor, Global Container Terminals, included with the recognition a $500 donation to a non-profit environmental organization. Since the 7 Mile Landfill isn’t really a non-profit, Ducklow directed the donation to a grassroots organization, Epic Exeo.

The remote North Island beaches get a lot of fishing debris from the Pacific rolling in, and it all gets tangled and mangled into the beach ecosystem. Every year, Epic Exeo organizes a beach clean, often with limited volunteers because they target remote, hard to access beaches.

A local company donates helicopter time, a big rig driver donates his time and truck. Epic Exeo and their families camp on the beach for a weekend and gather as much garbage – mostly industrial debris and plastics from the ocean – and load it into heli bags.

The helicopter does a series of trips to pick up bags, and drops them at a designated spot where the driver loads them into his truck.

At the end of the day it comes full circle when the driver delivers the collected refuse to the 7 Mile Landfill to be sorted and recycled.

READ MORE: Trash is the last resort for Mount Waddington’s garbage men

READ MORE: Heli-clean that beach!


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Fishing rope is set aside to be salvaged at 7 Mile. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)

Fishing rope is set aside to be salvaged at 7 Mile. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)