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OPINION: Littering Grows Worse as Population Climbs

UNA officials say they will continue to track down individuals illegally dumping garbage and littering in public areas

UBC is widely known for its stunning environment. But one issue mars its beauty—litter.

As the population on campus grows, UNA officials and residents say they are noticing more litter throughout the neighbourhoods.

Recently, UNA operations manager Wegland Sit said 16 bags full of trash were recently collected from forested areas in the community, prompting him to contact strata managers to address the issue.

The litter included pizza boxes, disposable plastic cups, empty liquor bottles and delivery and takeout packages. In some cases, delivery labels including names were still attached.

Sit says that much trash isn’t typical, however littering and the illegal dumping of trash is occurring “on a regular basis.”

Under the UBC–UNA Neighbours’ Agreement, the UNA provides weekly litter removal along sidewalks and parks, as well as monthly inspections on neighbourhood grounds using part-time staff and community volunteers.

Public garbage bins are emptied multiple times a week and is done in tandem with other tasks such as mowing and repairs.

But some residents say more attention is needed.

Naomi Tanentzapf, a campus resident and grade 9 student at University Hill Secondary School, said they were sad to see an increase in the amount of trash scattered around the community.

Tanentzapf said the increase in litter could be due to students “carelessly throwing” away their garbage, and the issue could be resolved with improved regulations and consequences for offenders.

Litter seems most concentrated in higher-density areas such as parks and playgrounds, although it recently seems to have also taken its toll along walkways.

When the large student population returns to UBC campus, problems associated with litter become worse. Essentially, people will care less about cleaning after themselves when they believe that the responsibility can be delegated to others.

There are many options for reducing litter. It could be as straightforward as sorting trash properly using the well-labelled trash and recycling bins around campus, or volunteering to clean up neighbourhoods.

The UNA has also established the Green Depot at Wesbrook Community Centre to help promote sustainable waste management.

With a rising population, it’s important that everyone works to keep public spaces litter-free.

Whether it’s volunteering or properly disposing of trash, there are many paths to take toward a cleaner future.


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