Environment – Clean, Green, and Beautiful?

Clean Green and beautiful
The goal is a clean, green and beautiful city

Doppler Bottle
Surfing a wave of litter in San Francisco

THUNDER BAY – The goal is a Clean, Green and Beautiful city. In Thunder Bay, as the snow melts, the number of bottles, coffee cups, needles, and other litter always make the city landscape look awful. As the snow melts, the litter tossed around Thunder Bay over the winter months is exposed.

The litter makes the city look terrible. Efforts to clean up are involving the Thunder Bay Police, community groups, local business owners, and individual citizens. Often however it can feel like a losing battle.

Clean, Green, and Beautiful?

Clean Green and beautiful
The goal is a clean, green and beautiful city

Picking up the mess is a task that a dedicated group of volunteers, under the banner of Urban Greenscapes are tackling. A few weeks ago, the Kam River Waterfront Park in the South Core Merchants Association area were cleaned. The former CIBC bank property is a space that this dedicated group have focused efforts on keeping clean.

Litter meet your match!

On May 10th, Urban Greenscapes have another project underway. Dan shares, “Found a spot in a city park that needs a drastic cleanup. Bring rubber boots if you have them, it is very wet with big puddles in areas. We will meet at Tim Hortons on Memorial (near Intercity) at 11AM and head out from there. A couple minutes drive from there. Probably a truck and trailer load worth which I will have. I have rakes, bags, bins, gloves. You can bring your own if you wish”.

Litter Bay
The winter’s snow melts and uncovers a mountain of litter.

As citizens can certainly see, one of the issues are the many soda cans and pop bottles without deposit that litter our streets.

Yet Ontario, unlike Manitoba, Alberta, British Columbia does not have a deposit on these containers. In those provinces, it is harder to find those containers littering the streets. People will pick them up and return them for the deposit.

It is an area where the province should step up. Ontario has, under the Liberal Government sought to become a ‘Green Leader’ in Canada. Huge subsidies have been invested in solar and wind energy.

Green Shift
Green Shift offers coffee cups that are more environmentally friendly

A simple move would be putting a five or ten cent deposit on pop cans, bottles, and tetra packs. If Ontario really wanted to clean up perhaps it would put a ten cent deposit on disposable cups from fast food restaurants and coffee shops?

Another solution could come in Thunder Bay where the city could insist on cups being faster to vanish into the environment.

Green Shift is a company offering products that are environmentally friendly.

The other litter culprit is the water bottle.

Litter lined streets
The litter in our streets in Thunder Bay is unlike most Canadian cities – Leadership must start at the top.

Perhaps from Holland there is a solution?

Born out of a 2010 crowdsourcing design competition in Europe, Dopper reusable water bottles have quickly gained momentum in Holland and are now being introduced in the U.S.  The Dutch social enterprise which is part for-profit ‘Dopper’ and part nonprofit ‘Dopper Foundation’ was founded by entrepreneur Merijn Everaarts who after watching a ‘plastic soup’ documentary was determined to create a sustainable consumer product to help reduce single-use plastic waste.

On World Water Day, the Dopper Foundation presented a Clean Oceans Awareness Campaign at San Francisco’s UN Plaza where 500+ residents surfed a huge 14 foot plastic wave made of 6,000 single-use plastic bottles (the amount we throw away every four seconds in the U.S. of which, less than 20% is recycled).

Onsite, a short stop-motion video featuring the plastic wave surfers was created. The plastic wave, designed by noted sculptor Marco Cochrane will be on display at the Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival taking place April 20-21.

Everaarts has tapped Dutch National, Irene Rompa to run the first Dopper Embassy outside of Holland. Dopper U.S. marks the launch of Dopper’s eight embassy (Holland, U.S., Hong Kong, Brazil, Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy), four continent roll out set for 2016 completion. Rompa, a passionate Millennial is also a sought after sustainability speaker.

“Establishing Dopper in the United States is paramount to our global strategy,” says Rompa. “We had a fantastic reception to the World Water Day S.O.S. campaign and have just begun to engage U.S. retailers surrounding distribution.” Dopper donates 10% of its proceeds (not revenues) to the Dopper Foundation for clean water access projects in Nepal and educational campaigns around single-use plastic waste. Dopper was immediately profitable and in less than three years, close to 3% of the Dutch population now owns a Dopper bottle.

Finding solutions will mean a cleaner Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay needs to offer far more leadership from businesses, residents, and civic government toward cleaning up our city. If we all do that, it will make our city look better, and can lead to a far more positive community.

Technology, positive efforts, and leadership are all needed.

We have the ability, all we need is to enact the effort needed.

James Murray