Watching the trash pile up

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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!)


Gerry Bowers


Silver Lights

Organizations: The Silver Lights Club, Hydro/Nalcor, Department of Transportation and Works

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Recent comments

  • Tim
    June 20, 2014 - 16:30

    I noticed the remarks from "Anna" laying most of the blame on gov't. It's not the fault of gov't, nor bureaucrats. The fault lies with the dirty people who have Z-E-R-O respect for the environment nor themselves. If the people who caused the garbage actually cared, there wouldn't be any garbage. It's a mentality thing and unfortunately that mentality in this province is "I don't care, I just don't want it in MY car." I'm sorry if I've offended anybody but I'm a born and bred Newfoundlander and I've seen that mentality everywhere here. It's existed from old times - From the ones who "exterminated" the Beothuk to folks today who tear up the bogs with quads with no thought to what damage they do to others who leave their camping garbage in the woods. It's a simple matter of having the wrong attitude/mentality. Correct that and you correct the problem.

    • Anna
      June 22, 2014 - 10:02

      The Provincial Government is responsible for keeping the Outer Ring Road. If they had reinforcements out on the highway ticketing drivers who do not have their garbage covered, this would solve alot of the problem. If the people at the landfill also ticketed those who showed up with garbage not covered this would also help. If the highway was cleaned up monthly then the government wouldn't have to close it down next weekend to clean it up. I am in agreement with you, alot of people in NL have no respect for their Province in regards to keeping it clean you can go anywhere and see garbage and it is very disheartening. But we can't just ignore the garbage as it isn't going to go away.

  • Anna
    June 19, 2014 - 13:36

    The vistors I have had this year to date have remarked on how dirty this Province is re the highways and especially the Outer Ring Road. Instead of apologizing now I just tell them we have a government that just doesn't care any longer on what this place looks like as long as they can get Muskrat Falls developed, can get their friends elected, and do anything else except govern. It is a crying shame what they have let this Province become. I agree with Ken we pay all of these fees for disposals and electronics and all that does is fill the coffers of the government so they have more money to waste. The MMSB is a joke. If they no longer want to be responsible for it, give the money to the municipalities and let them look after it.

  • Ken Collis
    June 19, 2014 - 04:33

    There is no reason at all that government can't direct the various bodies they have licensed with the lucritive contracts to handle recycling to help this good cause. I can ship a tv by courier to Quebec to be recycled for less than I'm charged by government for 'recycling fee' that does the same thing. There was a time you could sell an old car battery but now you have to pay for disposal when you buy it. Government is just taxing us all in a different fashion. Take some of that money and help out the VOLUNTEERS, that governments pretend to respect so much, do this sort of job. All that money wasted and Newfoundland is still the dirtest place in Canada.