When spring arrives and the snow finally melts it’s both a blessing and curse to our City. With the sidewalks cleared of snow you begin to see the pile of sand and debris which is a result of winter safety measures. The sand and sludge is an eyesore and a bit annoying when jogging but nothing compares to the large quantities of garbage that are uncovered by the snow melt. Walking around our City you’d be hard pressed to go 10 m without finding a piece of garbage. Sadly, it seems that litter has become an accepted rite of spring—the trash returns along with the robins and geese. It’s a constant struggle to reduce litter in the City and education and information directed to the public are ways EcoSuperior is trying to improve this.
As a result of this annual garbage unveiling, Spring Up To Clean Up was started. Although this initiative is extremely successful (11 000 people annually participate!) it isn’t a solution because we are still finding more garbage to pick up every year. Most of us seem to have adopted an attitude of resignation: garbage is on the streets of Thunder Bay and it looks horrible and I don’t know what to do about it. Well this morning I started thinking about this horrible sense of resignation as I caught myself kicking a discarded coffee cup down the sidewalk. There’s no reason for me to wait for a special date to clean up the City. I want to live in a City I’m proud of and I can start now by picking up this cup I’m kicking and taking it to the next garbage can I see.
Once I had a piece of garbage in my hand I found myself searching for a garbage bin. And to my surprise there are quite a few around. Thunder Bay bus stops are the best spots to look. Many of the covered bus stops (and several that aren’t) have a secured waste bin. And with bus locations only a few 100 m apart it didn’t take long to find someplace to deposit the discard coffee cup. It was easy. A simple task that made one 10 m stretch of sidewalk litter-free.
So here’s a challenge issued from EcoSuperior. When you’re out walking, whether for exercise, strolling with friends or just going somewhere, pick up a piece of garbage on your way. Don’t rant about it or make a big deal about it. Simply do it like it’s a habit you have. That one simple action can spark a change in your behaviour and those around you. Seeing someone else do something makes it more acceptable to do it yourself, it’s the same process that’s made littering common place.
So yes, volunteer and participate in Spring Up To Clean Up during the month of May, but also make a change in your life all year round. Take on the habit of picking up one piece of garbage during your walk. And who knows, perhaps one day this new habit will be a thing of the past.
Page last updated on Wednesday, May 18, 2011