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Don’t Trash Newfoundland and Labrador! Should be our new motto

I was going into a supermarket when I spotted a lady in a white truck parked in the no parking zone in front of the building. She had two children in the car with her under the age of ten. She rolls down her window and throws out a fast-food paper bag full of garbage.

A garbage bucket was five feet from the truck.

I bet everyone reading this has a similar story.

Everywhere I go in this province I find garbage. It is not unusual to be hiking through the woods and find discarded fridges and stoves. It seems around every tree there is an old tire. Remember when you used to see bottles and tins everywhere? Now it is masks. You would be shocked at how many times I have been hiking on a trail and found masks caught up in trees!

Trash litters all our highways and it only seemed to be getting worse.

This is our home, we have to keep it clean.

I think Government needs to step up with stricter fines and punishment but we, as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have a bigger role to play. |We are not innocent. When we see people throw garbage on the ground, it should be offensive to us as a people.

Don’t Trash Newfoundland and Labrador should be more than a slogan, it should be a battle cry. It needs to inspire people to not only stop littering, but to take it on as an identity, a declaration of our swagger and pride. It should be our motto.

Every time we turn away from someone throwing an old couch on a beach or throwing their tires in the woods, we turn away from the future of our province. Most of this litter is small trash like napkins, cigarette butts and fast-food wrappers. I get overwhelmed by the endless miles of trash blowing around.

This problem requires the province and municipalities to set ambitious but achievable goals that can be measured to track progress. We need to do quick research on who is creating the problem and why. I believe that littering is not intentional. I think most people don’t realize how their individual actions lead to a real problem.

One thing municipal government can do is provide more garbage bins around walking trails and parks. Then require fast-food outlets to clean the area around their establishment.

Once we understand the target audience, we have to develop a message that will inspire this specific group to change their behavior. Don’t Trash Newfoundland and Labrador is perfect.

I believe that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have a high degree of pride for being from here. I also know the word “litter” don’t motivate anyone.

Texas had a huge problem with trash that was costing them millions. They created the Don’t Mess With Texas campaign that eventually became their motto.

Once we find out what our target audience is, we need to find out how to reach them: social media or traditional. Maybe a mix of both.

The old saying out of sight, out of mind definitely does not apply when it comes to getting rid of waste.

Toxic chemicals and disease, causing microorganisms in the trash, may contaminate water systems and spread water-borne diseases, which can negatively affect the health of both animals and humans if we drink unclean or untreated water.

A common method of illegal dumping is throwing garbage directly into a river or stream, this causes oceanic pollution and leads to the death of marine life. Waste that is dumped illegally often contains dangerous and toxic substances, which soak in all the oceanic oxygen.

The most common killer of animals is plastic litter, notably impacting marine animals. Each year more than 100,000 dolphins, fish, whales, and turtles drown after becoming entangled or eating plastic.

Do you really want to be responsible for killing a dolphin?

Don’t Trash Newfoundland and Labrador must be a movement. We need bumper stickers, T-shirts, and billboards. |We need swagger and pride back. We need to use this statement in every aspect of our life in this province.

The next time you see someone throwing trash around, walk up to them and say, “Don’t Trash Newfoundland and Labrador.”

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