Be Part of the Solution, Not the Pollution

Every spring, as the snow banks recede, piles of trash are exposed. Much of this is litter distributed along our roadways and in our parking lots.

I have looked at what jurisdictions across Canada and abroad are doing to address this problem.

  • Some jurisdictions enact significant fines for littering, but these are rarely enforced as those who choose to litter do so when no one, particularly enforcement staff, is watching their disrespectful action.
  • Some jurisdictions erect signs to try to embarrass the guilty, but the people who litter are not inclined to feel embarrassed about their actions, littering or otherwise.
  • Some jurisdictions undertake anti-littering campaigns asking people to keep their trash until they are at a garbage receptacle, but the people that pay attention to this information already know that littering is bad and they are not part of the Dark Side.
  • Some jurisdictions place numerous garbage receptacles in parking lots and street corners, but in these days of tightening budgets, the cost of staff to empty these receptacles and keep them clean is prohibitive, and we have all seen overflowing trash around an unemptied trash bin. It is not just unsightly, it is unhealthy as it will attract unwelcome wildlife, including rats.

But there is good news. Littering may never fully disappear, but I am encouraged by an awakening of our younger citizens to the negative impact of litter. Hundreds of high school age, and younger, students demonstrated across Nova Scotia this spring for increased awareness and action on environmental responsibility. It is a breath of fresh air that through their increased activism, our children will be leaders in the battle to reduce litter.

I am also encouraged to see the growing number of formal and informal community teams that clean up the roadways in their own neighbourhoods. Kids, Moms & Dads and grandparents dedicating a few hours for neighbourhood cleanups. Kids most often follow learned behavior from childhood into adulthood. We can all set anti-littering behavior in the right direction by demonstrating leadership and responsibility at home and on the road.

To support our communities, on June 15th, along with the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets in Chester, I will be leading a cleanup at several parking areas along Highway 103. Volunteers will start with an 8:30 a.m. clean-up at Exit 9 in Chester Basin, then moving on to Exit 8 at Chester, Exit 7 at East River and ending at Exit 6 in Hubbards. Old School Pizza and the Aspotogan Heritage Trust will provide a lunch of pizza and soft drinks for all participants from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. The Adopt-a-Highway program of the Women’s Institute will provide garbage bags and gloves. The NS Department of Transportation & Infrastructure Renewal will pick up the collected garbage. Please call 902-826-0222 or e-mail info@hughmackay.ca for further information and to volunteer.