Editorial: Garbage isn’t cool

The results are in from the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup that took place locally on Saturday (September 15).

The results are in from the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup that took place locally on Saturday (September 15). Twenty five enthusiastic volunteers met at Kinsmen Beach where they were handed garbage bags and collections sheets, and what they tallied up is as follows: glass beverage bottles: 261; cigarettes: 277; building materials: 63; plastic bags: 68; food wrappers/containers: 36; beverage cans: 27; caps/lids: 25; car parts: 10.

According to Lake Windermere Ambassadors program co-ordinator Kirsten Harma, the number of plastic bags, food wrappers and beverage containers littering our shoreline is similar to last year, and garbage in and around our valley has recently become a growing concern for obvious reasons, given the recent news about a bear getting shot on 13th Street in Invermere.

The bear was discovered wolfing down a bag of garbage it had souced out from the back of a pickup truck. Because the bear has been frequently spotted in the area over the past several weeks, its fate was sealed. It had to be shot because it had become too habituated, according to Bear Aware, conservation officers and the RCMP, and relocation wasn’t an option.

No doubt readily available food supplies full of tasty, processed ingredients (ie. human garbage) are going to prove to be too irresistible for a wild animal trying to fatten up for its winter hibernation. Yet while some local residents are disposing of their garbage in a responsible manner, obviously there are those who are not, including second-home owners who may have been shocked to discover the transfer station in Invermere closed this past weekend.

There was a story out of Vancouver several months ago whereby a bear was discovered on top of a dump truck in the downtown core. It had accidentally hitched a ride after foraging for food in a dumpster when the dumpster was suddenly picked up and all its contents, including the bear, were loaded into the truck. The bear was tranquilized, placed in a steel trap, and relocated about 70 kilometres. A feel good story with a feel good ending, but since relocating bears isn’t the go-to solution in our area, let’s clean up our act before any more bears are unecessarily shot.