Weird garbage by the beach

Litter pollution is present in many places, but there has been an increase of different types of litter recently accumulating near Mount Hope Bay.

The Willow residence hall is closest to the bay. There are areas of entrance allowing students and the community to step into the beach and wander. This area is a notorious space for wrappers and beer cans. Recently, however, things such as a towels, sails, comforters and even clothes have appeared.

A lot of this trash comes, goes and gets moved around. There was a garbage bag filled with trash that stayed in this area for two weeks but had disappeared. The sail was moved farther down the beach away from the entrance area.

Scott Yonan, assistant to vice president of student life and director of special projects, works with Eco Reps and runs Earth Fest. He explained his feelings about our ‘backyard’ bay.

“Here’s the problem with the beach,” he said. “We don’t own [it], so we can’t put trash cans or recycle bins down there. So, very often Eco Reps, and other groups on campus, like Sustainability Club do a really good job with these beach clean ups. Very often we find fishing line, which can do horrible things to marine life if it goes back into the water. Animals get tangled in it.”

When bringing attention to the stranger items showing up, Yonan exclaimed, “that’s bizarre.”

“I don’t think it’s our students doing most of it, I think it’s people who come out of town to go fishing,” he said. “There’s definitely stuff from students, but I’d say the majority of the stuff comes from non-students. But if we could get students to just take their trash with them, if they’re going to go down to the beach and have a party or something, just take their trash with them that would be great.”

One of Yonan’s main goals is to have every trash can on campus, outdoors and indoors, have a recycle container next to it so that convenience is no longer a factor for students and staff.

He contacted the department of environmental management to see if they’d be willing to put a trash can near the bay. The best thing to happen would be if there were signs placed that say to take the trash when leaving.

“I don’t think we should be punitive, we shouldn’t fine people,” he said. “We should try to get them to see the light.”