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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Litter, Trash, Garbage

Now I love Canada. No just because it is trendy to do so or just because we have great hockey players. It's a great place. I hear it all the time from out-of-country visitors. What a beautiful country, you're so lucky you get to live here. It's so clean.

Well, I am ashamed to say it is not so clean. We Canadians have a very bad habit of littering. Of throwing trash out our vehicle windows on the highway and then there are the vandalizing garbage throwers. Wherever I go in this great beautiful country, I see an epidemic. Just today and yesterday I must have seen up to 10 shopping carts in the ocean and the river around town. During my time hitching along the highway, I was constantly looking at the Tim Hortons coffee cups, McDonalds packaging, gloves, shoes, plastic bottles filled with what I presume is piss, etc. It's bizarre how so few people, in this day and age, care about the impression that is made.

There are towns that will spend millions in trying to upgrade the offices, building new parks, preserving old buildings all in the effort of increasing tourism. After all tourism is Canada's fastest growing industry. But I have an easy and cheap solution, for all Canadians, to achieve a beautiful town or city. Clean up your garbage. Offices, band together for garbage pick-up day. Schools, have a community clean-up hour in your neighbourhood. Sports teams, clubs, organizations, use it as an opportunity to advertize. The possibilities are endless. We always see footage of prison inmates picking trash out of highway ditches. Why not? And most of all, if you see someone littering, say something.

I saw a gentleman in Jasper, out in the rain picking up garbage. I thanked him. It was his paying job. He explained he was developmentally challenged (?) and this was his job. He was doing a great one at that. He was making money and performing a valuable service. This isn't something limited to a particular class or education level. It is something we can all do.

The trees can be dead, the grass can be uncut, the weeds over grown. It will look natural and be appreciated. But the first piece of garbage will make it look unkept. What I saw on my two walks along the waterfront, I have seen in every town I have visited. When I get to Newfoundland, I hope to create a sense of caring amongst the citizens so that we can start to make Canada really clean.

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