Letter: Garbage is killing our planet

All we need is the will to do what is right for us, our children and the other species that share this planet with us, writes Roy Schiesser.

I would like to expand on Ed Mathews’ letter regarding the pallet nails, and the overwhelming ads about beautiful B.C.—which I find misleading. Misleading because so much of this province is succumbing to industrial exploitation and litter pollution.

Almost everywhere I go, I find garbage, plastic bottles, endless number of alcohol bottles, fast food containers, household refuse (including diapers), old beds, concrete, old couches etc., almost anything including the kitchen sink and sometimes these illegal dump sites are situated close to creeks, rivers and lakes.

Some of this garbage will take thousands of years to decompose and a percentage toxic to all species! This is a problem we could solve without the need for political will or for big business to step forward and take responsibility for the products they sell to us.

Last year I had the privilege of watching a film called The Messenger, a film about the plight of the world’s songbirds. During this film the audience is shown a segment of old footage dating back to 1958, where the Chinese government ordered all of its people to get out into the streets and fields to wave banners, flags and create noise. The government ordered this action to eradicate a species which was foraging on the country’s agricultural crops.

The government of China succeeded! The birds were forced to keep flying until they were so exhausted they fell from the skies by the millions. While watching this segment of the film I felt a wave of tears overwhelm me, but sometime later I realized the power of the people.

What if we could use this same power to conserve, protect and create? What if we all decided to begin cleaning up our planet? If a few, then a hundred, then a million of us stood up for the planet and took action, I think we could create a clean and healthy environment.

I put forth an appeal, asking that we act accordingly to eliminate litter from our waters and forests. We can do it.

A lot of garbage is lethal, strangling wildlife and ingested by wildlife resulting in death! Garbage tossed out along the roadside may find its way into a river system and on into the oceans. If it doesn’t become part of one of the ocean islands of garbage it may be consumed by any number of marine wildlife, usually causing death.

If it doesn’t become part of the island of garbage or sink to the ocean floor, it will join 46,000 other pieces of human garbage for every square mile of ocean.

Some varieties of crustaceans and zooplankton are now using plastics as part of their very structure. That might sound advantageous but the predators that feed on these crustaceans succumb to the plastic from either the toxins, inability to digest or congestion of breathing structures.

We are killing and smothering the planet with garbage. All we need is the will to do what is right for us, our children and the other species that share this planet with us.

Please stop littering.

– Roy Schiesser, Grand Forks


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