Most people think of provincial parks as beautiful spots to be one with nature. We see them as clean, protected places that are safe for wildlife.
However, not everyone treats them that way.
Our parks are not a landfill
It’s becoming more and more common for park visitors to purchase items for their trip, then toss them in the garbage rather than reuse or donate them.
We are finding tents, barbecues, tarps, and shelters. These are big items, and they add up fast.
Visitors who come for just the day may leave even more behind, as they bring everything for a disposable family barbecue, like disposable cups, plates, cutlery, tablecloths, and all of the wrapping and containers.
Many of which end up scattered on the ground.
While we do have staff that work very hard to keep our parks clean, at times it can be more than they can keep up with.
So while we do still think of our parks as clean environments, visitors cause our parks to produce tonnes of garbage from these clean and natural environments.
This needs to change
We as a society need to ditch our culture of “disposability,” and think about how we pack, what we pack, and how we can be less wasteful.
Keep track of your trash. Often visitors litter by accident. The wind picks up, and a napkin or straw blows away unnoticed. It still causes litter in our parks.
Use the recycling and garbage can. Can’t find one? Tuck your trash in your pocket until you come across one, or ask a staff member or fellow camper for directions.
Consider taking items home. Some parks are not able to offer all of the types of recycling or compost, so think about taking it home with you so you are able to get it to the right spot.
Borrow a friend’s gear if you don’t have your own. There are also many affordable options for renting equipment.
Take the time to clean and sort your recyclables. Often waste collection companies will not accept a bin of recyclables if it is contaminated. One person’s carelessness can turn a bin of recyclables into a bin of trash.
Pick up trash whenever you see it. Our staff work hard to clear out litter, but you can make a big impact by gathering up garbage when you find it.
Reach out to your nearest park and ask how you can help. Make every day Earth Day, and offer to pick up garbage to help out.
Make the small change. We always think how our one little effort will not make a difference so why bother, but if everyone who reads this makes one small change to help, together we’ll make a huge difference.
Let’s make Earth Day every day.