There has been much talk but little action when it comes to a solution to the problem of civic pride and managing the litter and garbage problems in the city.
First, let’s address the litter. Everywhere you look in St. John’s this spring, there is litter scattered on the ground. Generally, this is not on the property of ordinary homeowners, but on the common areas adjoining their property such as opens spaces, sidewalks, etc.
This could be easily fixed by homeowners taking a walk around the perimeter of their property and picking up the litter. Also, the many walkers and runners could help by picking up a piece or two every time they go out.
The merchants in the city need to take responsibility, not for just their property but, for the litter that results from their business that can end up littering a large geographic area around their business.
A prime example of this is the Stavanger Drive business area. People doing the littering is a part of the problem, but I think the greatest contributor is the litter in dumpsters and/or laid outside doors that is caught by the wind and blown all over.
This can be shopping bags, boxes and big garbage bags filled with shipping material, such as Styrofoam, that is so light that the wind blows it around.
There is also the problem of shopping carts that are dragged into the woods and left. If you want to see what this looks like CLICK HERE.
The video shows very serious litter behind the Winners Store on Stavanger Drive. It is not on their property but much of it came from their business. It extends back to a settling pond and is strewn among the trees and bushes.
I forwarded the video to city council and my wife called the manager of Winners, but to no avail.
More than two weeks later, the litter has not been cleared up. Compare this to the Grand Concourse trail in the same area, which was full of litter after the winter, but was cleaned up some time ago. Perhaps the Stavanger Drive merchants could partner with some non-profit organization and provide financial support to them in return for picking up the litter on a regular basis.
The other issue is the garbage dumped around the city, generally in secluded areas accessible by vehicles.
I believe that most of this garbage is dumped there on Mondays and is the result of people, mostly from outside the city, who load up their garbage and drive a fair distance to Robin Hood Bay only to find it is closed.
Now they must make a decision; take it back home and drive all the way back in again or find a secluded spot and dump it. I would suggest to the council that our money would be better spent on opening Robin Hood Bay on Mondays, rather than hiring a security firm to try to catch them.
The other thing that city council could do, as an organization, is to encourage their employees to pick up litter and garbage as an aside to the main jobs they do.
I believe the city council and employees need to raise their standards and pride in the city that provides them with their livelihood, while setting a good example for everyone to follow.
With the strong and frequent winds that St. John’s experiences, littering will always be a challenge, but a challenge that can be met if the city and its citizens exhibit their pride and rise to that challenge.
Robert K. Noseworthy writes from St. John’s.