This partnership is part of the Social Responsibility component of WhiteWater’s Sustainability Scorecard—a holistic approach to environmental sustainability that includes participation in initiatives beyond the attractions industry. This part of the Scorecard aims to donate 1% of corporate profits annually to a water-based NGO and support our employees to take on social responsibility.
Cleaning up the Waters for All to Enjoy
“Swim Drink Fish is the right fit for WhiteWater because both our organisations are all about people enjoying and celebrating water,” said Una deBoer, WhiteWater’s Chief Marketing Officer. “We wanted to find a charity that is local yet internationally involved.”
This non-profit contends that “everyone has a right to swimmable, drinkable, fishable water” and believes that the path to start restoring and protecting our waters is by recognising the meaningful ways we connect to them. The movement involves building relationships, including working with indigenous communities, to address complex environmental issues.
With four offices in Canada, Swim Drink Fish initiatives are active in 171 communities in 11 countries. One of the initiatives is of particular interest to WhiteWater:
“WhiteWater’s sponsorship is directly cleaning up waterways through Swim Drink Fish’s Vancouver Plastic Cleanup. Swim Drink Fish is installing, maintaining, and overseeing multiple Seabin trash trapping devices in Vancouver to engage in a waste characterization, plastic education, and advocacy project. This is made possible with the support from WhiteWater,” said Sadie Caron, Fraser Riverkeeper and Program Manager for Swim Drink Fish.
Seabin—a Novel Floating Garbage Can
The Seabins that WhiteWater is sponsoring are essentially garbage cans attached to a dock that skim the surface of the water to capture floating debris. In addition to removing and recycling the waste from the bins, Swim Drink Fish sorts and characterizes it to understand the source of the pollution, whether macroplastics, microplastics, or other materials. The data captured informs governments and businesses about how to target litter prevention.
So how does this relate to the attractions industry? “It’s tangible proof to say to water parks and theme parks, ‘Avoid single-use plastics,’” said deBoer.
Actively Participating in Social Responsibility
Beyond corporate donations, WhiteWater employees are encouraged to actively engage in social responsibility. In addition to participating in charitable events throughout the year, the company has adopted the river trail next to its corporate headquarters where employees take turns removing garbage to prevent waste from landing in the water.
Swim Drink Fish also offers several volunteer opportunities, for example, regular water sampling, waste characterization, major beach cleanups, and fundraising events.
WhiteWater looks forward to supporting Swim Drink Fish with its continuing efforts to connect communities to clean water, as both organizations are passionate about people enjoying water—safely.
Currently, there are 860 Seabins around the world, with four in operation in Vancouver. WhiteWater is sponsoring the installation and maintenance of more Seabins in the region. The waste characterization, together with water monitoring and sampling, will deliver data trends over time to enable better policy and infrastructure decisions as well as show the measurable impact Swim Drink Fish’s work is having.