- by Hub staff

Few themes in recent local news have attracted as much attention as garbage.
Do we all agree that littering is poor form? That leaving one's personal or household garbage in public spaces is not on? The litteringsheer quantity of trash would suggest that more than a few people who share our roads and parks feel entitled to leave anything they do not want where it lies.
It is hardly a new problem. Anti-littering campaigns over the years have tried appealing to  our better nature or love of No littering sign in Cape Codbeauty or animal welfare. They have tried embarrassment and threats.

Remember the cartoon of the person telling her companion that it was okay to drop her trash here because the sign said this spot was "Fine for littering"? I have always wondered who has actually received, let alone paid, a littering ticket? The biggest deterrent is not the sign or the fine – it is often the witnesses. Most litter is dropped when noone is looking. When we do see people leave empty containers behind at a picnic table, we may "tsk tsk", but we rarely challenge them. With the advent of smart phones, people have taken to posting photos of litter, and occasionally a licence plate, but these are no proof and don't remove the mess.

tidymanSocial media is full of calls for more enforcement. What would that look like and how much would you be willing to pay for "litter cams" and "garbage cops", not to mention the cost of prosecution or collection. Could we cover every park and corner?
So. We can call the litterers names and complain about their upbringing and try to embarrass or threaten them into better behaviour.
Or we can carry a bag and pick it up ourselves as we go through our day or enlist some friends for the annual river clean-up or Earth Day project.
We could study the science of human behaviour and consider large signs of "watching eyes".
Or we can pay taxes for government staff to clean up after our irresponsible neighbours, with or without resenting it.


Before the snow flies and covers up the problem for a few months, we at OwenSoundHub invite you to share your most creative ideas for dealing with this community issue. If at all possible, try to figure out the cost of your idea.  Feel free to Google it - finding tested and working solutions from other communities would be great.

Submit by email to [email protected]

We'll share them all on the Hub, and with the City's Operations Committee, and whoever submits a really original and workable idea will win five (5) Owen Sound bag tags and our encouragement to run for City Council in the 2018 municipal election!




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