Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Green Ravine in Surrey

A few blocks away from my home is a deep, green ravine with Delta Creek at the bottom. This time of year everything is just starting to explode in green foliage.
In order to get down to this point, it's a precarious scramble down a long steep slope.
When you look up, the height of the trees will impress you. Down here it's as if you are alone in the wilderness.
Except there is a couch, TV's, BBQ, bicycle wheel, dining room chairs and more.

As I look at the array of items I try to figure out the technical details of how one would drag this stuff out of here. How much has to collect before it matters? What would it be like if the ravine started filling up?

I try to take a nice picture and in every shot there is garbage of some kind. That sucks. There's tagging down here too on the rocks and trees.

This makes me think of playing pick up sticks.

The garbage is all tangled into the logs and vegetation and in some cases held down by the natural forest debri.

Shopping carts and blue tarps.

Did you know some trees have knees?

Abandoned soccer balls are everywhere in Surrey.

I originally started this whole project because when I went on my walks I couldn't remember all the spots where I had seen garbage. I thought that someday I would get around to reporting it all to the city for pickup.  Much of the garbage I have photographed remains where it was. Much of it is out of view of the average car driver around North and West Surrey.

Some of the garbage is a continually reoccurring event, like this site I photographed first January 5th.

The property owner has tried putting up fences to keep out the garbage with no success.

Even the neighboring property seems to think the fence is just for throwing things over.

This place is not like the ravine though, it's not hidden away.  The Vaisakhi parade route is the street right ahead. The streets which the city has been spending extra time cleaning up the last week. The city crews really went all out, pressure washing, street sweeping and shoveling, picking up garbage, mowing, weed eating, cleaning the grass from the sidewalk cracks even. 
The city does come and clean up if you call them, (if it's not on private property or BC Hydro land). I'm very grateful they picked up a few ditches in my immediate neighborhood before the grass overgrew it all.  Only problem is, they didn't talk to the neighbors about how they should be taking pride in Canada and keeping the streets clean.  So, the ditch is temporarily clean, but no-one was educated or informed or even told what was done. For all I know, the garbage in the ditch may have been the normal landscape for them and they didn't even notice if it was there or not there.
I haven't requested a clean up on this stretch of ditches on 90 Ave near Kennedy Heights Park yet. I don't think it's been picked up since the last time I called months ago. BC Hydro did clear the area underneath the power lines and empty the ditches on one side of the road recently.

But it's one of those regular dump sites, and the occasional cleaning up isn't really accomplishing anything.

Now the grass is growing here too and overwhelming the trash.

The closest Return-It depot is less than 2 blocks away from here. If they had known, would they have gone there? You'd think it would be just as easy. Maybe if there was a sign here, in multiple languages, telling residents in a simple way what to do with their items. Or a phone number. Or something.

That's only a portion of what is here. There is one lonely Do Not Dump Refuse! sign (Who uses the word refuse to refer to garbage? No one I know.)  What is needed is a clear message, advertising, or anything along this stretch to at least try to reach people where they are on the street. The big ads in the newspaper don't reach anyone who is actually doing the dumping here.  The newspapers don't  reach basement renters, they don't reach people who aren't fluent in English, they don't reach young people. A new way of communicating needs to be found. Door hangers on every door in this neighborhood, including the basement suite(s) would be a good start.

So we end with these Spring flowers. If my camera could do what my eyes do, you'd see the beauty of the mountains through the trees to add to this picture.

I so appreciate these folks with their most beautifully kept flowers. Every day should be Earth Day. Thanks for Keeping Canada Clean.

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