Don’t dump your trash everywhere

One item they could not bring themselves to remove from the shrubs: bags of human poop.

Don’t dump your trash everywhere

While walking in the Cowichan Bay Estuary on the weekend, two things, seemingly unconnected, caused me to smile.

The first was at the gated entrance, where three very different camper vans were parked.

The second was seeing the numerous people cleaning up debris, human created, that found its way into the marshland.

I spoke briefly with a member of each group. As a person who is contemplating the Van Living Lifestyle upon retirement, I asked a question foremost on my mind. How does one deal with bodily function waste in such a small space? The answer was a bucket and plastic bag, disposing of contents expeditiously before smell becomes an issue.

Continuing on my walk, I watched three men heft and roll a truck tire out of the reeds and over the railway tracks. When they were done, I enquired as to which community group organized this event. They were affiliated with an enterprise called Relax Collective, based out of Shawnigan Lake. The business is dedicated, using a portion of profit from sales, to cleaning “up waste from illegal dumpsites in B.C.’s forests and beaches, no questions asked”.

What sorts of things were they finding? (They may not ask questions, but I did). A variety, but the one item they could not bring themselves to remove from the shrubs: bags of human poop. I have seen trees disgraced with doggy bag ornaments but this was the first I heard of human content depositories. The clean-up crew and I agreed: we don’t know who was responsible and when the excrement was dumped in nature’s home. I do know (and saw) that our actions do indeed affect others. We need to responsibly clean up our own messes.

Knowing that I have options in retirement living, even for the short-term, makes me hopeful. So too does witnessing people help nature to survive and thrive — despite the poor waste management practices of humans. The motto on Relax’s website is true: we need to do our part in “Building a better tomorrow, together”.

Let’s begin today with poop and parks.

Cheryl Trudell



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