Since when did Canada become a nation of polluters?
We’re not talking about the carbon-spewing manufacturing industry or big oil here, we’re talking about ordinary folks and a disturbing habit of tossing trash wherever it’s convenient.
Need evidence? Just take a walk along pretty much any street in Kamloops and you’ll see it — fast-food restaurant bags on the sidewalk, candy wrappers, beer cases and, most predominately, empty coffee cups.
They come in all makes and models, too: Tim Hortons, Starbucks, McDonald’s; small, medium and extra-large.
And they’re not all simply thrown on the side of the road or sidewalk. You’ll find them perched in bushes, wedged in parking meters — even carefully placed on top of garbage receptacles.
It’s getting to the point that a street free of coffee-cup litter is the exception rather than the rule.
As if our cavalier attitude toward trash wasn’t bad enough outside, the paper-cup plague has moved inside as well.
Browse the merchandise inside large retail stores and you’ll see them — coffee cups, some half-full, some empty, tucked on the shelves beside jeans, T-shirts and sweaters. Oh, how this must grind on the nerves of business owners.
It’s as though some of us — by no means all of us — lack the courtesy or the common sense to treat the property of others as we would treat our own. For too many of them, it seems, the world is their garbage can.
Are we so lazy that we can’t hold on to a cup until we find somewhere appropriate to put it — and by that we don’t mean aisle five of housewares.
Chafric Haddad, an amateur photographer in Fredericton, made headlines last year when he vowed to pick up and photograph discarded coffee cups for a 12-month period.
His promise caught the attention of Greg Smith, senior manager of marketing for Tim Hortons in Atlantic Canada, who told CBC news at the time that the company charges people 10 cents less for a cup of coffee poured into a reusable mug.
Still, the paper cups find their way to the side of the streets.
What to do? Some suggest those who sell the coffee be held responsible for cleaning up the mess. Others say there should be a deposit levied on the paper cups, as is the case with beer cans and water bottles.
It’s a shame that we’d need to go that far and downright disgusting that people can’t have enough civic pride to resist the temptation to toss.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by editor Robert Koopmans, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, news editor Mike Cornell or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.