A litter collector's walk

Andrew
Andrew Wagstaff
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Cleaning up Parrsboro one shopping bag at a time

PARRSBORO – If everyone in a community is responsible for keeping it clean, then Randy Mosher is doing his part.
Every morning without rain, the local resident heads out for a walk with his canine companions, Parker and Taylor, with at least a couple of shopping bags in his pockets. When he returns from the hour’s jaunt, those bags are full of trash that he picks up from the roadsides.

Every day he chooses a different section of town to visit during his walk. He has been doing this since March, and it all started at a town council meeting.

“I was at this meeting, and (project co-ordinator) Taylor Redmond said she wanted to start marketing the town as a wedding destination,” said Mosher, who also serves as the town’s fire chief. “I thought, well, let’s get rid of a little bit of the litter first if we’re going to show it off.”

In the late 1980s, Mosher was a member of the Hantsport Lions Club, which became the first volunteer organization to adopt a stretch of highway following the pilot project when the province first brought in the Adopt a Highway program. They adopted a 15-km stretch of highway, and he served as chairman of the program for many years, giving him experience at seeing the difference that can be made when people make an effort.

The morning walks not only give he and his energetic dogs their daily exercise; they also allow him to visit different parts of town. The areas include Eastern Avenue to Swan Creek Road; a loop covering Templar Street and Beaver Dam Road; Upper Main Street as far as the former Esso garage; Western Avenue as far as the industrial park and back through King Street; Western Avenue from the industrial park to the town line and back; Whitehall from Main Street to Pinky Creek Road; Whitehall from Pinky Creek Road to Lighthouse Road (the site of today’s visit); Whitehall from Lighthouse Road to Ottawa House museum; a loop around the aboiteau; and Two Islands Road to the town line.

“Main Street could be picked every day,” said Mosher. “And up by the school… it’s really discouraging the amount of stuff up there.”

The most common items he picks up are Tim Hortons cups, styrofoam plates and cigarette packages. On occasion he comes across the contents of a broken garbage bag, which can reveal almost anything.

“One thing I wonder is why we’re importing garbage,” he said. “We don’t have a Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald’s, or Wendy’s in town, but I find that type of that garbage on a pretty regular basis.”

Mosher gets out for these walks on an average of six days per week, and usually comes back with two garbage bags full each time. The busiest pick-up days are Sundays, when he finds a lot of beer cans from Saturday night parties.

He seems content, although frustrated by what he finds. Often he will pick garbage off the ground, only yards away from the public garbage cans on Main Street.

“I like to walk,” he said. “I used to commute to the city to go to work, so this is my time now instead of fighting other cars on the highway. But some days I feel like I’m beating my head against the wall. When I pick up a stretch and then the next day see more on it, I wonder what people are thinking.”

Based on what he sees around the school, he said more should be taught to young people about littering so “it might stick with them.” He also believes local police could help by writing more tickets to litterbugs, as a $400 fine might serve to deter some.

“Think about visitors,” he said. “If there’s litter, that might be the one thing they remember about their visit here.”

awagstaff@citizenrecord.ca

Twitter: @ADNandrew

 

Organizations: Whitehall, Hantsport Lions Club, Esso Ottawa House Tim Hortons Kentucky Fried Chicken

Geographic location: Parrsboro, Western Avenue, Pinky Creek Road Lighthouse Road Eastern Avenue Swan Creek Road Templar Street Beaver Dam Road Upper Main Street King Street

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  • Sheila White
    October 31, 2013 - 08:47

    Connect to a website whose goal is to lower the rate of littering. http://www.litterpreventionprogram.com