Opinion

COLUMN: Rural areas not dump sites for anything

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It’s the middle of April, and a month into spring, yet the few glorious days we’ve enjoyed seem invariably preceded and followed by cool temperatures.

A week ago, the sky above the horse pasture was filled with swallows. A day later there was frost on the barn roof and the warmth was gone, as were the birds. Either they continued north in search of better weather, or more likely returned to balmier southern climes.

The 20 or so showy wood ducks that normally arrive on my pond around March 1 are still absent in numbers. One pair arrived a week ago, four more on Sunday.

But what makes me even more convinced, despite the calendar attesting otherwise, that winter has yet to leave is the number of Christmas trees still being dumped on the roadsides of Sumas Mountain.

Surely those who think littering is fine if it’s biodegradable haven’t had the trees adorning their living rooms all this time! So why, in the intervening weeks between the end of December and now, do they suddenly think it’s acceptable to clean up their backyards by messing up the backyards of my neighbours?

To add to their stupidity, with the price of gas hitting $1.39, it probably costs more to drive up the mountain to dump their tree than it would to take it to the city’s composting depot. In fact, city hall often provides free passes to the Gladwin Road facility.

And speaking of recycling, the centre at Vye and Riverside charges nothing to take old TVs; a cheaper, easier and less unsightly option than the one chosen by a litterer who dumped an old set, along with piles of other crap, along the side of Straiton Road.

It’s frustrating when hauling a trailer load of waste to be recycled that I’m passed, going the other way, by a shiny SUV towing a similarly loaded trailer with garbage bags and branches soon to be tossed onto the road shoulder.

Guess it didn’t occur to the dumper that plastic bags don’t biodegrade – at least not in our lifetime.

The biggest folly in all of this of course, is that each of us already pays to have our garbage picked up at the curb, so why not make the effort to get your trash out on the street in time for pickup?

Thinking that it’s free to litter is another mindless assumption. City crews will have to pick up the roadside mess, at a cost that is eventually recouped from taxes.

To be fair, however, I should point out that not all rural folk are holier than thou. There is an appalling amount of litter around the community mailboxes at my corner.

Few of us appreciate all the junk mail we receive, but that’s still no excuse to toss it to the ground, or adorn the top of the boxes with it.

It isn’t the mail lady’s job to pick it up, nor is it mine.

As noted, we all get (and pay for) recycling pickup. Take the junk home, and put it in your blue bag.

markrushton@abbynews.com

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