But not because we want to…
Maybe you have noticed those signs on the side of highways stating that the particular highway you’re driving on has been adopted, usually by a service group in the community.
The Team Gushue highway for example has been adopted by the Silver Lights Club.
This club is a group of Hydro/Nalcor retirees and employees with 25 years of employment. The adoption contract requires the Silver Lighters to pick up garbage along the sides of the Team Gushue Highway.
The spring and fall cleanups each usually yield 100 bags of garbage. The form of this garbage has evolved over time from tires, rims, car gas tanks and sofas to smaller items like plastic bottles, tin cans and paper coffee cups. This could be called progress, but it is still 200 bags annually from that one particular highway section.
The Silver Lights Club has the responsibility to organize the cleanups by recruiting volunteers from the retirees and employees still working. Nalcor donates safety vests, gloves and provide transportation to and from the cleanup site.
The Department of Transportation and Works supplies the garbage bags and arranges to collect the garbage the following day.
This May, upon requesting the garbage bags from the Department of Transportation and Works, the club was informed that new protocols where coming into effect. Due to safety concerns for those working on the highways, new signs are now needed, and until then no highway cleanups are permitted.
So, you can now see that the Silver Lights Club is not shirking its adopted responsibilities.
However, spring is gone, and volunteers are in summer mode and gone as well.
As the window of opportunity has closed for the Silver Lights Club, perhaps some intervention can take place between different government departments — highways, tourism and the environment — to see that the protocols are in place. The next cleanup attempt will be early October. Until then, we can all watch the garbage collect and see how things unfold.
Just an aside: during one of our cleanups, a driver stopped and provided coffee to the cleanup crew!
It’s nice to know that some of the public appreciate our efforts at keeping our highways litter-free. (And yes, we did put the used coffee cups in the garbage!)