Volunteers from the Bottleneck Drive group of wineries were out on April 20, collecting garbage in the Trout Creek area as an Earth Week initiative.
A similar clean-up by Earth Week organizers was held on the weekend.
While the clean-up efforts help to beautify the area, they are also visual reminders of the carelessness shown by some.
Garbage should be properly disposed of, not tossed along the side of a road or highway.
A few weeks ago, members of the Trout Creek Community Association were out picking up garbage in their area.
Others have done something similar in other parts of Summerland.
Often, at the end of the clean-up, the volunteers will pose for a picture, showing the amount of garbage they collected.
Each time I see these efforts, I have mixed feelings. I’m glad volunteers are willing to pick up the trash, but I also wonder why such an effort is necessary.
Anti-littering messages have been around for many years.
By now we should know it’s thoughtless and irresponsible to toss garbage along the side of the road.
Each clean-up initiative is a reminder that litter is an ongoing problem, even though anti-littering messages have been around for years.
Environmental concerns are nothing new and for many years, Earth Day organizers have presented their messages about the importance of caring for our environment.
The first Earth Day event was held on April 22, 1970.
Since 1990, Earth Day has been observed every year in the United States, Canada and elsewhere.
In Summerland, we have had community-wide Earth Day celebrations for the past 10 years, and even before that, there were some local events with an Earth Day theme.
Today, our community celebrates with plenty of gusto. We can’t fit all our events into one day, which is why we celebrate Earth Week.
On Sunday, people of all ages will gather at Peach Orchard Park to help enhance the natural riparian habitat at the lake.
Other events have been held since last Sunday.
If we as a community care this much about our environment, why do we still see many bags of garbage each time there is a roadside clean-up event?
The problems of litter and packaging have been addressed many times.
Plastic wrappers, drinking straws and container lids do not break down easily.
Some of these items will decompose in 450 years; others in more than 500 years.
Styrofoam and tinfoil do not decompose.
Discarding a disposable coffee cup on the street, or pitching a fast food wrapper out the car window is thoughtless.
If that garbage is not cleaned up, it will outlast any of us.
I doubt anyone would want to leave such a legacy for future generations.
In addition to the environmental concerns, discarded litter is unsightly and messy.
There’s no excuse for discarding litter along the roads or highways.
In Summerland, there are plenty of garbage containers set up in the downtown and on the highway, there are pullout areas with garbage cans in place.
A little thought and effort will make a huge difference in keeping our streets and highways clean.
John Arendt is the editor of the Summerland Review.