What garbage

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This morning, a group of Mount Pearl citizens are cleaning up the part of the Waterford River that runs through their city. They will find the expected: a full winter’s deposit of chip bags, fast-food waste, coffee cups, plastic bags and scores of other windblown waste working its way towards the sea.

But that’s only the beginning of what they’ll find.

Look in other rivers on the Northeast Avalon and you’ll see car tires, shopping carts, chemical dru

ms and garbage bags of household trash. Car parts. Furniture. Appliances.

More power to the people who are coming out to clean up, for those who answered the call to “meet at Mount Pearl City Hall to sign up and receive supplies (gloves and bags).” It will be messy work and, for a while, it will be an improvement to one of many waterways that flow through the province’s urban environment.

But the sad part is that it’s treating the symptom, not the disease.

From the micro to the macro, we’re still a bunch of slobs.

First, the micro: Friday morning, there was a Tim Horton’s cup, spilling coffee, dropped in the middle of the intersection of Forest Road and Empire Avenue. It was one of scores of items flicked out of car windows by people who couldn’t be bothered to walk as far as the nearest garbage can. One of the great ironies of our society? People are really careful not to be seen letting Fido poop without scooping, yet those same people seem to have no compunctions about waiting until no one’s in sight to flick those long-living plastic bags and their stinking contents into the nearest copse of trees, where they can live on far longer than a pile of dog poop ever would.

Then, the macro. On sideroads all around the northeast Avalon, there are thousands of pounds of trash dumped every year, ranging from bags full of disposable diapers to siding to containers of waste oil. It’s dumped in the woods, on beaches and over the nearest embankment. It’s in old quarries and in treed dips alongside parking lots. Last year, people driving into the city on one highway were treated to the standing symbolism of a white porcelain toilet, left standing just off the road, a perfect symbol of the way far too many people treat their waste and this province.

In recent years, the City of St. John’s has made it easier and easier to take materials to the Robin Hood Bay waste site. There are now different hours that are better suited to people with material to dump, and the drive is on pavement — no more tramping through the mucky, stinking fill on top of the waste site to unload your car, fewer dive-

bombing seagulls and far less of a chance for your tires to pick up stray roofing nails from someone’s load of discarded roofing shingles.

It should be getting better — yet it isn’t.

After caring citizens in Mount Pearl finish cleaning up other people’s trash, they’ll be treated to a barbecue — and they’ll make sure that every scrap of barbecue trash makes its way into a proper receptacle.

We thank them for their efforts — the only discouraging part is how much those efforts are needed.

Did you drop a cup today?

Shame on you.

Geographic location: Mount Pearl, Avalon, Waterford River Forest Road Robin Hood Bay

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Recent comments

  • Anna
    May 28, 2013 - 13:00

    Thank you for all your articles on what a dirty cities we are in St. John's and surrounding areas. Please keep publishing them as you might actually embarrass the mayors in having their own people pick up garbage instead of relying on volunteers. The letter I wrote about all the garbage in the water falls at Pleasantville, fell on deaf ears, the garbage was still there yesterday. I guess Mayor O'Keefe is waiting for the Aliant pioneers to get out and pick that up. we have to change our name to ST. JOHNS DIRTY AND UGLY.

  • Mary
    May 27, 2013 - 20:47

    If you walk a lot around St. John's,and see those concrete garbage containers in front of some businesses,they're usually overloaded,and on a windy day,garbage is flying everywhere,also in some apartment building parking lots,those dumpsters are just about always overflowing,I don't know whose job it is to keep them emptied,I've seen it so many times,I'm surprised city council doesn't get after them,and lets not forget all the bedsheets,table cloths, comforters , etc,that are lining the sidewalks ,that people FORGET to remove,when their garbage has been collected, some years,after the snow melts,it's disgusting.I'm sure some of our visitors must wonder what such things,are doing on the sidewalk. Different kind of garbage,but, garbage nevertheless.

  • Mary
    May 27, 2013 - 15:51

    If you walk a lot around St. John's,and see those concrete garbage containers in front of some businesses,they're usually overloaded,and on a windy day,garbage is flying everywhere,also in some apartment building parking lots,those dumpsters are just about always overflowing,I don't know whose job it is to keep them emptied,I've seen it so many times,I'm surprised city council doesn't get after them,and lets not forget all the bedsheets,table cloths, comforters , etc,that are lining the sidewalks ,that people FORGET to remove,when their garbage has been collected, some years,after the snow melts,it's disgusting.I'm sure some of our visitors must wonder what such things,are doing on the sidewalk. Different kind of garbage,but, garbage nevertheless.

  • Joe
    May 26, 2013 - 19:06

    Just go to any box store. You will see these dirtbags leaving coffee cups all around the place. When I worked at walmart a few years ago I noticed a customer leaving a coffee cup on a shelf. I ran up and said you dropped something back there you might own. The customer followed me back thinking it was something important, I pointed to the coffee cup and said, that's not a garbage can, the customer turned 50 shades of embarrassment, picked up the cup and pit it in a garbage can

  • doug
    May 26, 2013 - 15:35

    Your PROVINCE is garbage ridden not only st.john's, for a small population you create alot of garbage and throw lots of it on the roads.

  • Leaving
    May 25, 2013 - 17:00

    I do believe that toilet is still there - if you're talking about the broken bit of one on display along the CBS bypass. It's all too easy to point fingers and say "baymen" or "ignorant louts" but honestly, with the sheer volume of garbage that is strewn everywhere (it seems to get worse by the day) you can look no further than your own neighbours. Yes, that teacher, or lawyer, or nurse, or the nice guy down the street who shovels your driveway for you. It seems like the sense of entitlement of the people in this province grows right along with the garbage piles. Seems everyone thinks they are a special snowflake and that those rules apply to everyone else but them. I'm glad to be leaving.

  • Barb
    May 25, 2013 - 15:37

    Has anyone walked into a shopping mall lately and felt disgusted by the number of coffee cups littered about the store? It's not the fault of the coffee shops but the people who are littering the place. Is there no respect left? Would you do that at home?? Litter seems endless these days..

  • david
    May 25, 2013 - 11:48

    We're pigs..it's who Newfoundlanders are. The TV ads don't change it, the special assemblies in schools don't change it, the spring cleanups by naïve volunteers doesn't change it. Nothing will ever change it. We pound our chests about the wonderful freedoms and wilderness of Newfoundland.....and the only reason we might believe a word of it is if we had never been anywhere else. Take it from someone who has travelled and seen many places...Newfoundland has one of the most shockingly disappointing, completely abused, disrespected environments a thinking person could ever come across. Whether its a simple lack of any pride in the town or city where one lives, or an anti-social, devious outlook on wilderness as a "dump" to be utilized, it is tragic. But it is who we are, so that's it.

  • Skeptical Cynic
    May 25, 2013 - 10:35

    When was the last time you heard of one of these filthy ignorant louts having to do a perp walk into court to receive a hefty fine for their filthy behaviour? Until these ignorant louts are held to account for their filthy behavoiur by public humiliation and a stiff fine, they will be content to continue living like sewer rats. And so will their offspring. Ignorant louts beget ignorant louts.

  • mainlander
    May 25, 2013 - 09:54

    People have no pride or respect for where they live. It's shameful. Do you enjoy living in a litter-infested pigsty? If you don't, then don't litter!

  • Eli
    May 25, 2013 - 09:07

    Recently I contacted a friend from "around the bay" and asked him if he'd take away some old carpet on his next visit to the city. Yes, I know about Robin Hood Bay but he has a pickup and can manhandle it easier than I can. His immediate response was; "sure, I'll throw it aboard and some foggy nite take it to the water's edge & throw it over the bank". I passed on the opportunity.

  • Townie
    May 25, 2013 - 08:47

    The major problem is with baymen coming in to St. John's. They have no respect for the City and litter all over the place. Drive around the City and you will see that the litter bugs are often mesmerized in traffic, a clear indication of someone from the bay. Just like a dog does not mess in his own bed, a person does not litter in his own area.

    • Eli
      May 25, 2013 - 14:27

      Townie, you're just plain sick!