Orangeville, ON (Jason Mead) There is nothing worse than seeing garbage blowing down the street of your neighbourhood, or finding broken shards of glass at the local swimming hole where children play. Wildlife is just as vulnerable to garbage and many have lost their lives after becoming tangled in waste or mistaking garbage for food. It is up to each of us to attempt to minimize this unsightly, and sometimes hazardous, problem.

Animals, wind and traffic breezes put legs to loose garbage and can distribute it great distances from the original source. The first thing that we can do to prevent this is to ensure trashcan and dumpster lids are secure. Metal and plastic trashcans are more preventative than bags. Leaving a bag out overnight or even for several hours is an enticing invitation for stray animals to wreak havoc. When taking a load to the dump, be sure to securely cover it by tying a secure tarp over the load with some rope or bungee cords.

Carry plastic shopping bags on your walks to clean up litter you find along the way. Often, people are rewarded for their efforts by the deposits returned from bottles and cans. Those who have noticed your efforts will begin taking up the same habit once they realize the impact it has.

Report any dumping you witness, whether done illegally or accidentally. Just get the license number and leave the rest to the officials. Also, report any site of garbage left by others. Report these problems to the local city, highway, public works or conservation office. Ask them to arrange for it to be cleaned up.

By doing these relatively small actions, we prevent contamination and injuries to people or wildlife in the area. When separating recyclable items, we keep a valuable resource out of the landfill. In addition, we maintain a pristine environment for citizens, tourists and wildlife to enjoy. We can all take pride in knowing that by keeping garbage in its place, we are making the world just a little better for everyone.