Editor: Littering is an offence committed all too often on our scenic Island roads. When tourists visit our province we hope they take note of the unique red soil and beautiful coastline, not the enormous amount of fast-food wrappers and miscellaneous garbage sprinkled carelessly on the shoulder of many highways. Unknown or at least uncaught individuals participate often in this despicable act, sometimes in broad daylight. The amount of garbage tossed on our Island roads is a product of laziness. This habit is unsightly and has a negative impact on our wildlife.
A common excuse for littering is that there isn’t a place to put garbage while driving. Drivers should have the courtesy to wait until reaching their final destination to throw out their garbage. Each Prince Edward Island home and apartment has black and green bins provided for their use. Ironically, according to curelitter.ca, most litter is found within five meters of a garbage bin. Cigarette butts are also the most littered item, and take 25 years to biodegrade.
Littering is convenient for lazy individuals, but the effects are greater than they appear. Garbage ingested by cows or other livestock can be deadly, and litter left unattended can draw filthy rodents which carry diseases. Acts such as throwing out a beer bottle may seem mild, but broken glass is a safety hazard. Garbage can make its way to our streams and oceans, polluting our watersheds.
“Don’t mess with Texas” is an example of a state-wide campaign to prevent litter. The state struggled with garbage scattered along their highways. They focused on public education and had celebrities backing their program. It has seen great success. Texas officials realized their citizens were greatly patriotic, so the program stressed keeping communities clean as a commitment to their state.
As a resident of York, I frequently picked up litter from the roadside all summer to no avail. Every two weeks the mess would return to its original state. I take pride in my community, as should others who visit or are passing through. Islanders should follow in Texans’ footsteps and be proud of the beautiful place we live in.
Littering is unnecessary and an eyesore. By putting an end to litter, we will help animals, protect our water supply, and become a more inviting province for tourists to visit and for Islanders to live. Every apartment and home has bins. Use them!