A camera will probe BC Ferries’ Denman Island route this week.

It’s to see how much plastic pollution the cable ferry is producing, according to BC Ferries spokesperson Astrid Braunschmidt. 

“We’re going to cover multiple crossing to cover as much areas as we can. And if needed, we’ll have divers pick up any plastic, should it be found,” Braunschmidt said. She adds the camera will be on a remotely operated vehicle, which will enable to go underwater. 

Plastic strips from the ferry cable are washing up on Denman Island and surrounding islands’ shores. Braunschmidt says the cables aren’t supposed to delaminate.

“We do understand that this is a manufacturing defect – it should not be occurring. What I can say is that a lot of the plastic shedding has stopped.”

“We do have measures in place to detect and mitigate the delamination early on and at this time, we’re not seeing any more plastic coming off the cable.”

The ferry cable on the Demand Island route launched in 2016, and was seen as a new environmentally-friendly alternative to other ferries in the fleet. 

The ferry uses less fuel because it’s pulled along by the plastic-covered cable motors. The plastic ensures the cables run smoothly through the ferry mechanisms, as well as help prevent corrosion. 

It’s possible to use bare cables, and Braunschmidt says they are looking into it. 

“Until we fully understand the situation, and make any decisions, we are continuing to monitor the beaches and waterways.” 

This includes shoreline cleanup on Denman Island on August 20th which will be lead by BC Ferries CEO Mark Collins along with employees. 

“We’re committed to finding a solution to this problem and in the meantime, participating in cleanup and monitoring efforts.”