Observer staff arrived at work Monday morning, April 25, to find someone had left a large, leaking bag of motor oil jugs by the dumpster at the back of the building. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Observer staff arrived at work Monday morning, April 25, to find someone had left a large, leaking bag of motor oil jugs by the dumpster at the back of the building. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Opinion: Public littering dumps responsibility onto others

In Plain View by Lachlan Labere

On Saturday mornings in downtown Salmon Arm, things don’t usually pick up until businesses open.

Last Saturday though, (April 23 – the day after Earth Day) around 9 a.m., there were people downtown picking up, scraping off, rubbing and scrubbing and spraying and wiping and bagging whatever needed to be disposed of.

While the return of the annual downtown Salmon Arm cleanup didn’t draw the same large number of volunteers the event has in the past, those who did participate, including some businesses, took advantage of the warm, sunny morning to remove what litter there was and give the core an extra shine.

The District of Sicamous holds its community cleanup on Saturday, April 30. This volunteer-driven event involves picking up garbage as well as working on flower beds at the seniors housing complex. In addition to being able to take pride in having spruced up the community, participants also receive a free T-shirt and lunch.

Both communities’ downtown areas are kept pretty tidy throughout the year. Sicamous’ cleanup, however, extends to areas throughout the community. In the past it has included the shoulders and ditches along Highway 1 which, over time, tend to show the consequences of careless trash disposal.

In March, Sicamous siblings Savannah and Serge Magee spent a day cleaning ditches at the east end of town near the Kerr Road/Highway 1 intersection. Mother Jeanine Goode said the kids picked up a lot of vehicle fluid jugs and fast food cups/containers. “The grossest things we saw were quite a few baby diapers,” said Goode.

Not long after, Sicamous council expressed its disappointment in truckers littering on public property by the truck stop near where the Magees did their cleaning.

Hikers and other outdoor recreationists generally follow a motto along the lines of “pack out what you take in,” to limit their footprint in a way that respects others and the land we share.

It’s not a bad approach to take wherever we happen to be. But let’s face it, when it comes to littering there are people who just don’t give a damn. Maybe they’re happy to let someone else take responsibility for their discarded cups, foil food wrappers or cigarette butts, of which I’ve seen a concerning number as of late along public trails in wooded areas in Salmon Arm. I very much hope this habit doesn’t continue into fire season.

Read more: Community pride: Sicamous siblings tackle trash strewn along Highway 1

Read more: ‘They’re still pigs’: Sicamous council frustrated by littering around local truck stop


lachlan@saobserver.net
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