Wouldnít it be nice if people were responsible for picking up and disposing of their garbage in a safe and legal way?
Is it too much to ask? I donít think so.
Iím appalled at what I see in this community from some people who have no respect for others, no respect for the environment.
This past weekend there were several events surrounding the Great Shoreline Clean-up where volunteers were out in force helping to clean up our beaches and shorelines.
The clean-up has been going on for 20 years, and during that time, half a million Canadians have helped collect more than 1.2 million kg of shoreline litter. The litter continues to choke and harm wildlife and has negative impacts on our water quality. Cigarette butts and food wrappers continue to be the most common things picked up. According to statistics from the folks at the Great Shoreline Clean-up, last year there were 217,822 cigarette butts picked up along B.C. shorelines and 41,439 food wrappers and containers. The oddest items pulled from B.C.ís shorelines last year included a bathtub, a cash register, a dishwasher, a gargoyle statue and a plastic eyeball. Itís a pretty disgusting mess and itís shameful that these kinds of clean-up initiatives are still needed.
Another area that gets my blood boiling is in our back roads and forests, where many people think it is still OK to dump their garbage.
On Saturday, the Sunshine Coast Regional District is inviting the community to participate in its backroad trash bash, which will focus on cleaning up illegal dumpsites from Port Mellon to Roberts Creek.
During last yearís clean-up effort, more than 14 tonnes of garbage ó 14 tonnes ó was removed from Sunshine Coast backroads. That number is staggering to me. With all the options available here on the Coast, from the landfills to recycling depots, why do people still think it is OK to dump their garbage in the woods?
Last year, 55 volunteers came out to support the cause, including members of the ATV Club, employees from the Conservation Service, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, BC Parks staff and concerned residents. Materials collected included household garbage, couches and mattresses, metal and construction waste.
This year I would like to see even more volunteers come out and lend a hand. Iíd also love to see more involvement from the many active environmental organizations that we have here on the Coast.
For example, Elphinstone Logging Focus (ELF) and the Sunshine Coast Conservation Association (SCCA) are both very active in trying to protect our natural forests and threatened habitats. I applaud their efforts and their passions, but there will not be any forests and habitats to protect unless we stop people from illegally dumping garbage in the woods.
So, here is a challenge to the SCCA and ELF: how about a joint campaign targeting illegal dumping in the woods? What about joining with our local governments in an awareness campaign to strengthen and toughen up our illegal dumping bylaws? There is a clear desire to do so from the public. Just take a look at our current question of the week where we asked, ďDo you think enforcement against illegal dumping should be tougher? Ninety-four per cent responded yes.
For a community that is supposedly very environmentally friendly and a champion for Mother Earth, we clearly are not doing enough to stop this ugly and illegal practice.