Opinion: Time to take out the trash

In what’s becoming a ritual, volunteers were at the riverside again, hauling out the tonnes of garbage that others have left behind.

FVRD Area E Director Orion Engar takes a look at some of the garbage collected from the Chilliwack Vedder River Valley on Sunday morning

In what’s becoming a biannual ritual, volunteers were at the riverside again this weekend, hauling out the tonnes of garbage that others have left behind.

They gathered more that 4,000 kilograms of junk – equivalent in weight to about three vehicles.

And that wasn’t all of it. That didn’t include the recyclables, or the items too big to weigh.

Of course, Chilliwack’s back country is no stranger to dumping. Indeed, the problem exists almost everywhere in the Lower Mainland. The mounds of trash seen here are just a fraction of what some people leave for others to clean up.

So who are these people?

What process occurs in their brain that allows them to believe their garbage is someone else’s problem?

Granted, they are a minority. Most of us can equate an appreciation for the outdoors with a desire to leave it as we found it. The gulf does not seem that wide.

And yet for some, it is insurmountable.

Perhaps they are dense enough to think there is staff that patrol the trails after hours just to clean up their mess.

Or that dumping fees are higher than the gas it costs them to dump their filth in the back country.

But more likely they are spoiled, self-centred individuals with a sense of entitlement – people who expect a campsite to be clean when they arrive, but don’t care how they leave it.

Laws don’t seem to deter these people. Signs are apparently too difficult to read.

Solutions are hard to come by.

What we do have is control over our own behaviour.

Become an outspoken advocate for a clean backcountry. Lead by example by packing out what you’ve carried in. Don’t hesitate to report a polluter. And don’t miss an opportunity to tell a politician you are fed up and tired of waiting for action.

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