A Gleneagle student is sitting in their car and decides that the garbage is too far for their leftover lunch. Their food attracts a wandering black bear and the bear gets used to the food left by like-minded students. This is where the bear problem in Coquitlam starts, and it hasn’t been getting better.
Gleneagle is a participant of this issue, and the school parking lot is one of the main attractants of bears. This is because of the litter that is thrown away in the parking lot and being picked up by the noses of Coquitlam’s black bears.
A little over two years ago, a teenaged bear paid a visit to Gleneagle. Had the bear stayed much longer than it did, the conservation officer on site may have had to put down the furry teen.
Many bears do decide to stick around, however, and the consequences are not pretty. In the past year alone, 8 bears have been destroyed in the city of Coquitlam and over 1000 unsafe garbage warnings have been issued near where they were destroyed according to Vancouver Sun.
The Bear Aware Bakery is working to help fix this issue by selling bakery items to night school students to raise money to buy a garbage can for the other students near the parking lot; but the question is, why should they have to do this in the first place? We should know better than to throw litter out into the street, and yet there are still people doing it.
What tends to happen, is people will sit in their cars to eat their food in private; and after they finish their food, whatever wrapper or disposable item that came with the meal gets tossed out of the window. It is ironic considering that the only massive industrial garbage containers in the school are sat right next to the parking lots.
In the last three years at Gleneagle, littering has been quite overlooked in assemblies or class discussion, with the only mention coming to mind being when the school board switched the garbage cans into multiple garbage sorting bins. Anybody that cares about littering should know that if others do not know about the harm that it causes, then they will do nothing.
The excuse that throwing fruit outside will help is false, even in the bushes it takes several months to decompose and is an attractant to bears and other wildlife. all food will attract animals, and if you see any food on the ground you could potentially be saving an animal’s life by just picking it up and disposing of it properly.
It can be very hard for some people to keep in mind how their garbage impacts the rest of the world, and it takes a level of effort to dispose of it correctly. This is especially confusing due to the new four-bin system that was recently introduced which divides garbage into cans/bottles, paper, organics, and other garbage.
This new system should not be driving people to throw their trash in the street. It is the responsibility of the students to properly throw out their trash no matter the annoyance, and it is the responsibility of the teachers to enforce it.
If you litter or are a bystander of littering, then you are putting animals and people at serious risk. Please, do your part in society by taking that one food wrapper or orange peel in the appropriate garbage. It is not as hard as it seems to take that extra 20 seconds.