Editor, The News:
I agree with everything Cheryle Thompson about being responsible for your own litter. Maple Ridge is the second dirtiest city I’ve ever lived in next to Montreal, and certainly the dirtiest in the Lower Mainland (I’ve lived in the West End, Chinatown, Kitsilano, Southeast Van, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge).
When I first moved here three years ago to an apartment building on 222nd Street, next to an empty lot, which I consider my front yard, I was shocked at the amount of garbage in it. I picked it up for a while, wondering why there isn’t a garbage can on the street in such a densely populated neighbourhood.
I called the city and was told it could study the problem for a month to determine if there was enough garbage to warrant a disposal bin, but it would only count the garbage on the street and sidewalk.
Most people walking beside an empty lot don’t naturally throw their garbage on the street or sidewalk, but into the lot.
The city told me the owner of the lot is responsible for it, which hardly seems fair when recently someone dumped two mattresses, a couch, two chairs, three TVs and other assorted unwanted furniture in it.
Why should the owner have to pay dumping fees for some irresponsible person’s junk?
Most of what I pick up is plastic and paper disposable cups, plastic bags, convenience food wrappers, cigarette packaging, doggy poo bags (yes, they pick it up and then toss it in the bushes). On two occasions each I have found human excrement and syringes.
I would say upwards of 80 per cent is some form of plastic.
Here’s an idea – if the city doesn’t want to install and maintain garbage cans, paying city worker rates, perhaps it could offer a few homeless people jobs picking up garbage for minimum wage. I do it for free and I have two part-time jobs, one of which is minimum wage.
Maybe it’s time to start a litterbug shaming campaign, or is that what we’re doing now? Sarcasm aside, I think everyone should be responsible for their own garbage, but some people aren’t.
Perhaps they would be if it was more convenient, although I have seen people litter with a garbage can a few feet away.
Still, why not put a few garbage cans out and see if it helps. Can’t hurt.
I think a solution may lie in teaching or training people when they are young (with the environmentally conscious attitude nowadays I would assume children are being taught not to litter in schools, but I don’t know. I was, but it was a long time ago.) Also, when observing someone littering, call them on it.