Talking trail trash
As the snow melts, we always expect the unveiling of a bit of trash in our ditches and along our roadways from the long winter months under the snow. But does this year seem worse than others to anyone else?
Full black garbage bags dumped in our ditches, coffee cups seemingly by the thousands, plastic bags and bottles, and even paper fast food bags full of an entire meal’s trash appear to line local roads.
Janet Looker, who drives into Uxbridge from the city several times a week to care for her aging mother, has noticed the extreme volume of trash throughout the town.
“I love escaping the city and coming to a rural place,” she says, “so to drive along the beautiful roads and see them lined with trash is heartbreaking. I’ve started picking some of it up, but I quickly get overwhelmed.”
Looker says she notices that the volume of trash seems to be the highest along roads with moderate traffic.
“I can’t be sure, maybe it’s just because I’m not there as much, but driving through Markham and into the city there appears to be less trash than on the country roads.”
Mike Kilty, an Uxbridge resident, recently shared a photo on Facebook of a collection of dog poop bags that he collected while on a walk behind South Cedar and South Balsam Streets.
Jokingly, Kilty captioned the post “Hoping to help reconnect people with their lost poo bags from the hundred acre woods….if you recognize them send me a note I will drop them off.” But seriously, if people have enough effort to get out the bag, bend down, and scoop, why on earth can’t they just carry it with them until they reach a trash can?
What makes the doggy bag issue even worse is that the owner is doubly damaging the environment. Not only does the bright blue bag spoil the look of our green space, but by adding that layer of plastic covering to the otherwise biodegradable contents, there is now a larger issue of a five to 10-year decomposing plastic bag.
As someone who went to school in the 2000’s, I was constantly taught the importance of looking after our planet, and was scared with the horrors of overflowing landfills and oceans heavily polluted. To me, littering has never even seemed like an option. Who are these people who don’t see a problem in just dropping their rubbish? What were they taught in school? It’s hard to imagine what goes through peoples’ heads before they toss their trash out their car window, into the ditch, into our woods, wetlands and trails. Is it that they really don’t care about the planet? Or do they not know the consequences?
While initiatives to pick up trash are wonderful in preserving the aesthetic value of the town, it doesn’t stop the huge accumulation of trash in our landfill. It actually doesn’t get rid of the trash at all, it just hides it. Other than the obvious banning of single use plastics, coffee cups, straws etc., I think our town should start brainstorming some other ways that we can step up, to better take care of our beautiful, rural landscapes and the planet upon which we reside.
Editor’s note: The Uxbridge Cosmos is a host news organization for the Local Journalism Initiative (LJI), a federally funded program aimed at fostering and supporting the creation of civic journalism. The Local Journalism Initiative is intended to support the creation of civic journalism; therefore, LJI reporters are required to cover civic issues and civic institutions such as courthouses, city halls, band councils, school boards, Parliament or provincial legislatures and the like. Ms. Edgell’s stories are shared across the Canada, as LJI stories are available for republication by accredited media organizations across the country through a Creative Commons license, broadening and strengthening the reach of the content and coverage.