To the editor:
The profusion of litter on Vancouver's residential streets and thoroughfares disheartens me, too. I also believe it's not just the city, private businesses, labour unions and public institutions that are responsible for the cleanup. Everyone who lives, labours and shops here shares that responsibility.
As a City of Vancouver Green Streets' volunteer, whenever I work on South Hill's Fraser Street gardens, people stop to say "thank you" or to chat. During those encounters, discussions often centre on litter, dirty sidewalks and dirty storefronts. Invariably people say, "Somebody should do something about it." Well, each one of us is "somebody." Each one of us can make a difference.
We can voice our displeasure with merchants who don't keep their premises presentable. We can teach our children not to litter. We can, like Mike Klassen, take tongs in hand and spend some time cleaning our neighbourhoods, and encouraging others to do likewise. The City of Vancouver's "Keep Vancouver Spectacular" program can help by providing tools, vests, gloves and garbage bags.
Mike suggests our mayor and elected officials could lead school kids on cleanup campaigns, year-round, thereby reducing the likelihood those kids will grow up to be litter bugs. What a way to inspire civic responsibility and pride. Can you imagine what leading such a campaign would do for the reputation of the city, the mayor and council members?
Sherry Loof, Vancouver