Living in litter has a limit

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Added: Thu, 12/05/2013 - 11:27pm
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The photos on pages 8 & 9  displays a reality which none of us can be proud. Where the PPJ Cyclopath trail meets a gate to Pontiac High School in Shawville, mounds of rubbish have taken over the area, and spray-painted vulgarities mark the trail’s pavement. The situation is disturbing not only because of the litter, but because the rubbish is apparently generated by the students – the very generation we expect to be more alert to the importance of our environment.
Many schools offer environmental science programs, organize clean-up days at local parks, creeks, and beaches, and some take field trips to study climate change, endangered species, etc. How does this get translated into all this litter? So what is the cause of the disparity in reference to the pictured situation?
Is it merely a don’t-care attitude, or would a few trash cans nearby solve the problem? Is it inconvenient to transport the rubbish to garbage bins rather than tossing it on the ground? Would a clean-up day here be more instructive than having the students pick up other peoples’ garbage elsewhere? Regardless, the situation is embarrassing to the students, the school, the municipality, and the Pontiac in general.
The trash litters a significant stretch of the PPJ trail, which was created to attract tourists to the Pontiac and highlight our region’s natural beauty. If our prosperity depends on tourism and marketing our natural beauty (besides our trees), is this what we want tourists and investors to see? What impression are we giving by allowing this situation to continue and multiply?
In the case of the spray-painted pavement, some effort was made to create the mess. Someone carried the paint and took the time to spray the words on the pavement. If the same effort was invested in cleaning up the area and keeping it clean, this problem would not exist! And we’d all carry our heads a little higher, especially the kids that hang out there.
Littering occurs elsewhere as well – on back roads, in ditches, etc. The trashed areas cause a  ripple, sending the message that dumping trash anywhere is acceptable (example: there’s a large baby stroller pushed down the ravine at the student spot, clearly not from the students). The message we’re not getting is that ugly surroundings make us all a little uglier.
Our youth are our future. Is this how they will secure their own well-being? We are leaving them a planet full of difficulties and they will need every ounce of resolve and effort to keep the human enterprise progressing. Standing on the PPJ trail, that future looks bleak!

Allyson Beauregard, Editor