Nobody gets away from this
Gatineau has announced serious measures to reduce the amount of waste we are each sending to the landfills, effective this July. All Quebec cities have been ordered to reduce landfill dumping, and the city asks us to cooperate – cooperate in serving our own, personal best interests. If we don’t plan our futures well, that future living won’t be very happy.
That’s a simple message, and, really, not a terribly difficult one. We just have to conquer the idea that whatever’s convenient is just fine.
According to Councillor Audrey Bureau, the major sources of extra waste are three: construction and reno wastes, excessive packaging, and compostibles (organic kitchen wastes). Reducing these is no hardship.
Councillor Duggan has told the media he fears citizens will dump garbage into rural ditches, city parks, and on shorelines. He’s correct; these places are already used by the sloppiest among us. Cook Road has its piles. The issue here seems to be short-term advantage over long-term pain: illegal dumping will create long-term expense, and every one of us will pay for the eventual cleanup.
We’re aware of climate change, and all aware, after last spring’s massive flooding, that even here in clean-and-fresh Canada, we’re part of the global systems that are regurgitating our own wastes (emissions, garbage, smog, pollutants) back upon us. The home-owners who suffered the floods and their insurers paid dearly, -- we all did. Subsidies and grants to help the worst-hit, new programs, surveys of floodplains, etc, were all paid for by our taxes. Our taxes could eventually decline.
Certainly prevention is much less expensive and much easier to implement than correcting mistakes and rebuilding washed-out homes, bridges, roads, and culverts – not to mention increased healthcare stress and costs (from sewage released into our waterways). An inter-connected world means we are all plugged into this big system of climate, weather, economy, transportation, resource extraction and so on. Its costs and its failures – just like its successes – are borne by us all, if not today, surely tomorrow.
Hence, Mme Bureau’s emphasis on a cooperative approach. “This will only work with a collaborative attitude”, she told the media. The province (and the city) have to create a consensus and a cooperative spirit by explaining the rules and the reasons for those rules. Stress the positives, appeal to our wisdom and sense of community! Drop timid social media “messaging” and create a real public campaign, a wave. Bus stop ads, billboards, everywhere -- let’s see the message plain, clear and inescapable. Especially for apartment dwellers, who must now recycle.
Advise citizens to start cutting down on packaging – leave it at the store – or take it and construction waste to the city’s eco-centres (no cost). Tell us we’re being forced to create compost, the best food available for our summertime flowers, trees and lawns.
Our planet is one big closed system. There is no escape hatch for us, nor for our garbage.