– by Zero Waste Sooke
How litter-strewn are the roads in Sooke? Somewhat but ultimately not bad at all as a team of Zero Waste Sooke volunteers discovered when they roamed local streets on Sunday, June 14 picking up stray bits of garbage and talking trash with residents along the way (as ZWS reps will also do at Canada Day on the Flats this Wednesday).
There are litterbugs out there, of course. Two shifts of volunteers accompanied by community roadside clean-up hero Sifu Moonfist and featuring a mix of youngsters and familiar Sooke faces like Ralph Hull, Lis Johansen and Frederique Phillip collected 20 partially filled
bags of litter over four hours. Team leader Zach Ogilvie was able to recycle at least 80 percent of the haul at his curbside pick-up.
The District of Sooke provided vests, garbage bags and insurance waivers, then collected and disposed of the residual 20 percent of bona fide trash. The ZWS roadside clean-up team plans to be a semi-regular part of local keep-it-tidy efforts. Employees of SPR Traffic Services snag roadside trash on visits to town every two weeks under contract with the District of Sooke. And an Adopt-A-Highway stretch of the Sooke Road is periodically scoured by the Sooke Youth Council in tandem with the Rotary Club of Sooke, most recently this last weekend.[sam id=”15″ codes=”true”]On June 14, residential areas of Sooke proved to be relatively spotless. “I’m bored, it’s hard to find anything to pick up,” said one of the team’s young volunteers. Unfortunately, the situation wasn’t quite as clean and green along Grant Road West, Helgesen, Church and Townsend Roads. Much of the trash was left by car and foot commuters, including cigarette butts and packages, paper coffee cups, fast-food wrappers, drink bottles, beer empties and plastic gum cases.
“It’s a shame that maybe 1 percent of folks are ruining it for the rest of us who would never dream of littering,” says Zero Waste Sooke coordinator Steve Unger. “So thank you to the 99 percent of Sookies who care about keeping our town clean, natural and pristine. For the others who think Sooke is their personal garbage can, think twice, you are in the vast minority.”
Ogilvie did an after-the-fact garbage audit. “Among the litter we found children’s toys, clothing, and even an unopened can of beer,” says Ogilvie. “Through archeological study, we come to understand more about past civilizations through the artifacts they leave behind. If handmade tools and earthen cookware tell the story of a resourceful and self-sustaining people, what will our single-use cups and cellophane packaging say about us?”
Zero Waste Sooke is a new citizen’s initiative operating through Transition Town Sooke and inspired by Awareness Film Night’s screening of the Clean Bin Project documentary film early this year. More road-side clean-ups are planned later this summer and in the fall. For more info, please search ‘Zero Waste Sooke’ on Facebook and Twitter.