According to organizers, 70 volunteers representing a broad coalition of groups removed 4.5 tons of garbage from in and around some 14 derelict boats stranded on the Oak Bay side of Cadboro Bay near the border with Saanich. (Black Press file)

According to organizers, 70 volunteers representing a broad coalition of groups removed 4.5 tons of garbage from in and around some 14 derelict boats stranded on the Oak Bay side of Cadboro Bay near the border with Saanich. (Black Press file)

Editorial: Earth Day shouldn’t be about cleaning someone else’s mess

The problem wouldn’t exist if each took care of our own

Earth Day is once again upon us.

As a day to reflect on the health of our planet and clean up our acts, all kinds of people across the world celebrate and participate.

This year, we want to reflect on garbage and all the trash that lines the fragile ecosystems across the Island and mars too much of wilderness.

It is unbelievable that in this day and age, where we put so much pressure on littering and proper recycling, that local conservation groups and community volunteers have to pick up bags and bags of garbage each year.

Every day, in every season, people walk their dogs or with their friends through various paths that dot our parks. Every day, in every season, they are greeted with bits of trash. We know many of these people are picking up that trash as part of their journey.

Still, the next day there will be more to clean.

The thought that others are putting in as much or more effort as you are, and problem persists, is mind-boggling.

Obviously this means people need a little more education about what happens to their trash when they throw it in the ditch or alongside paths.

And think about the trash falling off our bridges and along our riverbanks and shorelines. For every piece picked up, another 10 fall into the water and are swept away with the streams and tides.

A lot of the garbage that we’re putting on the ground doesn’t break down. Animals eat it, and it pollutes the environment.

But, we’ve all heard that before, right?

Think about our outdoors as your kitchen. If you have five people in your household, and each person leaves a dirty dish and cutlery and cooking pot, you have a filthy kitchen.

But if each person takes a second to be conscientious about their own habits, the problem disappears.

And no one is stuck with the awful task of dealing with the aftermath of a dinner party gone wrong.

Earth Day should be a reason to celebrate and rejoice at all of the amazing gift we’re offered. It may be impossible to get everyone on the same train, and that accidental littering does happen.

But if we each made just the slightest attitude adjustment, it might help.