I don’t get it. I really don’t. A few months ago the Town of Aurora was determined to implement a clear garbage bag program; a form of garbage diversion. It was supposed to be a good thing. It was supposed to be a ‘social responsibility’ thing. The focus was on Town of Aurora residents. Residents were opposed and Town council voted not in favour of clear bags.
“We need to consume less. A lot less. Less food, less energy, less stuff. Fewer cars, electric cars, cotton T-shirts, laptops, mobile phone upgrades. Far fewer. Yet, every decade, global consumption continues to increase relentlessly.” ~ Stephen Emmott, Ten Billion
However, let’s think for once, who is the real waste producer: we, the consumers or them, the producers? It is clear, we all know in order to reduce waste, less needs to be produced.
Let me put some more cards on the table. If garbage does not go into a garbage bin, recycle bin or compost bin, where does it go? Well, pictures don’t lie, they actually tell a very good story. That garbage in fact litters our Town. Some of that accumulated litter is picked up every spring by hundreds of volunteers. The collected garbage volume doesn’t appear to decrease year-to-year; yet ironically the Town seems to consider it an accomplishment if more is collected each year. The cycle continues. May I suggest a slight paradigm shift here, may I suggest enforcing an anti-littering by-law?
“Litter defined, garbage purposely diverted to the public places.”
Littering is a concern. For me, littering by developers, builders and contractors is a bigger concern. St. John’s sideroad is a prefect recent example where ditches on both sides are filled with garbage, predominantly drinking bottles; some areas with construction materials. Illegal dumping follows. Some of it is probably by now buried in the ground or hidden by overgrown grass, hidden from human sight.
The issue is that the littering is happening away from populated areas. The garbage is not a concern since there is nobody to see it. Nobody to look at it. Who cares if coffee cups, pop cans and water bottles end up in the ditch? Well I do care. In principle, we should respect any area, populated or not populated, we should follow a healthy habit of putting garbage where it belongs.
Today, disturbing view along Earl Stewart Drive. We went out for dinner. We decided to walk on the sidewalk south on Earl Stewart Drive. Roofing debris along with other food related packaging was scattered alongside the building, the sidewalk, and the road. Some of the debris, some kind of foam sheets were lying on the sidewalk. How did it get there in the first place? We walked fast, some stuff was still landing on the grass, roofers were still working and littering at the same time. What does it take to collect garbage in bags or bins? What does it take to dispose of coffee cups properly?
Because it is a commercial area, it does not give a contractor the right to litter or spread debris on the sidewalks; pedestrian sidewalks. Even more so, some of the stuff should have never been thrown down. No warning signs were placed alongside the building. Is that even legal?
In my opinion, the Town of Aurora should really re-think the anti-littering strategy. More enforcement is necessary. More enforcement for developers, builders and contractors is even more necessary if we want our town to be litter free. Something to think about; to think about that ‘social responsibility‘ thing. Perhaps one day the annual clean-up day will be history and not be necessary, for now that may just be wishful thinking.
Anna Lozyk Romeo