About two weeks ago, we had a visitor from out of town. In the course of our conversation, he remarked that he was a bit shocked at the amount of garbage and litter on the roadways in our town. He was truly surprised at the large amount on our road because it is a small and much less travelled road. I immediately felt a hot red flush of embarrassment in my cheeks
So the next day, I deliberately looked at the roadsides and he was right ! Had I been too pre-occupied with other things in my travels that I was oblivious to this? Or had I just seen it so many times that it no longer registered? So why was I embarrassed ? I hadn’t made the mess. Perhaps it was because I had so completely missed it, or was it because I take pride in our town and felt guilty that I had let it get this bad without doing anything? And right in front of our house !
In any case, I started taking our dog Rider out for a walk down the road carrying a garbage bag with me. Each day I picked up a garbage bag full (kitchen garbage size) of litter. I cursed as I scooped up the empty Tim Horton’s cups and beer cans, fantasizing about putting up a surveillance camera to catch the guilty parties or taking the empties into the OPP for DNA testing and finger printing…..grumble, grumble…….
I thought about the slogan on the town website “A Natural Place To Grow”, maybe we should change it to “A Natural Place To Throw (Garbage)”. Or the many people that encourage people to come out to our town for ” Arts, culture, built heritage, natural charm and lifestyle …..and lots of garbage on the roads to greet them when they get here..” More grumbling as I went along……. It took Rider and I two weeks to clean up the road. I took in all the alcoholic empties to donate to charity (maybe some good came out of this).
Pitch-in week is 20-26 April. I have heard of a few organised clean-up efforts, but will many people go out and clean up along the roadway in front of their properties ? Will the town look any different come the morning of 27 Apr ? Or will we just wait for the grass to grow higher in the hopes that it will hide it all ….
Did I say that I got our road cleaned up ? This morning as I was driving home, I saw that someone had thrown out a bag of garbage from their car and it had spilled out along the roadside – coffee cups, sandwich wrappers, and more. And three more empty beer cans further along the road. My heart plummeted…..maybe we really are a “filthy” town?
I guess Rider and I will be out with our garbage bag tomorrow……