New Brunswick — Whether neatly placing an empty bottle on a storefront windowsill or throwing a chip bag in an alleyway where it won’t be seen, New Brunswickers are getting tidier about how they litter, according to a new study by the New Brunswick Environmental Action Association.
“Although we saw little improvement on the actual percentage of New Brunswickers littering,” said Chad Lay, spokesman for the NBEAA, “we did see a marked improvement with the manner in which these people choose to go about it. In short, it’s much neater.”
The 2013 study found that in nearly 61 percent of littering cases, New Brunswickers preferred to discard their trash neatly rather than throw it away indiscriminately, putting tidy littering up 16 percent from the last study conducted in 2011.
“It’s great news,” said Premier Brian Gallant. “Those numbers are a clear sign of the willingness of a growing number of New Brunswickers to help make this beautiful province of ours appear less polluted.”
“I’ve been doing it for years now, so yes, I’m happy to hear it’s finally starting to catch on,” said Campbellton resident Mark Albany. “I’ve always made an effort to keep my trash from looking unsightly; it’s the least I can do. I’ve never understood how someone could just throw a bottle on the ground without even thinking about it. I mean there’s mailboxes, tree stumps, all sorts of things you could just as easily prop it up on for someone else to pick up later.”
Added Albany: “I won’t even toss a chip bag without at least putting a rock on it so it won’t blow around.”
The study found that tidy littering was highest among urban residents and those living in the suburbs. According to the NBEAA, lower instances of neat littering in rural areas were attributed to a lack of “facilitating structures.”
“We found tidy littering lowest in these areas because rural residents simply have very little to work with,” explained Lay. “Other than the odd community mailbox, or some nooks and crannies that might surround a local convenience store, there’s virtually nowhere to place or hide your trash.”
Nevertheless, tidy littering is on the rise, and environmentalists in the province are hailing it as a small victory in their efforts to raise environmental consciousness in the minds of New Brunswickers. Lay credits the growing coverage of environmental issues in the media as cause for the improvement.
“There’s no doubt that the popularization of environmental issues in the media have helped shift the way New Brunswickers think about their surroundings. I think that for many these days being environmentally friendly is no longer a lifestyle, but a moral choice,” he said.
“When someone, for instance, decides to stand up their empty Coke bottle on a sidewalk rather than leave it lying on its side, it’s clear that that person is aware of the need for a cleaner environment, and that they are making a conscious decision to feel less guilty about their part in making this a filthy, disgusting place to live.”