Somewhat in desperation, I am pleading with Vernon residents to stop littering our beautiful city. It is disheartening that so many consider roadways as trash cans, where they expect others to clean up after them.
If you are not convinced, go for a walk along any major street, and the problem will become very apparent. Along Okanagan Landing Road and Lakeshore Road, about 75 per cent of the litter I pick up is directly related to the fast food industry, with smokers adding another 10 per cent or more.
I would suggest that those contributors to the problem team up with city officials, local radio and The Morning Star staff to launch an ongoing anti-litter campaign. The radio stations could provide on-air daily/weekly reminders while the paper could publish an anti-litter article now and again, initially showing a photo of a trash can for those who don’t know what one looks like. The city could use billboards as reminders. I hope that parents are teaching their kids not to litter and that schools have an active program to discourage students from being part of the problem now and in the future.
Vehicle occupants and others litter 12 months of the year and it is not the tourists, as I see no decrease in roadside trash during the off season. Tourists visit attractive cities and we all know how important their financial contributions are to the local businesses and the city’s economy. Let us encourage them to return time and time again.
One suggestion might be for city staff to set up a web site where residents can register their names, where they would commit to picking up a few items per week/month during outings. Families could also sign up. What a great teaching tool for our kids.
The city could possibly promote once a month, a day where residents could pitch in to tidy up our city. A challenge could possibly be launched to other cities within the Okanagan for the “cleanest city in the Valley.”
The organizations that have signed up with the “Adopt a Road” program would have to spread their efforts throughout the year as a once-a-year cleaning is not adequate.
To the many volunteers who are already committed to helping out, I offer a sincere thank you. Please be part of the solution — not part of the problem.