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Trash Talking

Clean Across Nova Scotia plans the largest provincial cleanup in history

by Natascia L

Volunteer Kiki Woods poses in front of one of the Clean Across Nova Scotia bases on Robie Street (photo Natascia Lypny).
Volunteer Kiki Woods poses in front of one of the Clean Across Nova Scotia bases on Robie Street (photo Natascia Lypny).

The Crazy Cleaners, the Sustainable Scotians and the Tatamagouche Trash Targeters are gearing up this weekend — and it’s going to get dirty.

They represent three of 200 cleanup teams across Nova Scotia that are part of the largest simultaneous effort of its kind in the province’s history. Taking place June 8 to 9, Clean Across Nova Scotia is a new initiative by Clean Nova Scotia. The goal: scavenge as much litter as possible.

“We do have quite highly developed waste management systems, but they’re not in the hands of the community so much,” says Clean Across Nova Scotia organizer Neil Bailey. “For the community to take ownership, we thought something like this would be a good way for people to really get involved in the process of cleaning themselves.”

Bailey describes the event’s structure as “do-what-you-want.” Individuals, community groups, government agencies, organizations and businesses were free to register as teams and lay claim to an area. Registration is now closed, but willing cleaners are free to show up at a cleanup spot. Bailey says the team list includes everything from seven crews of Halifax Canadian Forces Base members covering multiple locations to a Dartmouth couple in their 80s devoted to sprucing up their block.

These grubby objectives are part of the global social movement Let’s do it!, which has encouraged 94 countries to organize mass cleanups involving over 300 million people, according to its website.

Bailey says he’s “not surprised” that Nova Scotia is the first Canadian province to take part in the Let’s do it! movement: “I think that the social structure here lends itself to community initiatives, and I think Nova Scotia has a long history of caring for its own.”

The Nova Scotia Government has set a goal of no more than 300 kilograms of waste per person per year by 2015. That figure currently sits around 401 kilograms per person based on a 2010 estimate.

Bailey hopes this weekend event translates into Nova Scotians more carefully considering not only their contribution to litter and waste, but also how they can cut down on consumption and move away from disposable lifestyles.

Ironically, Bailey says to collect the trash, “We’re using plastic bags. Until composting bags or something [else] becomes the norm, that’s what we have to work with.” Clean Across Nova Scotia is sponsored in part by Glad and Farnell Packaging Limited. Both companies have recently introduced compostable bag products: something to keep in mind for next year.


Photographs of Halifax cleanup locales can be found here.

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Topics: Environment
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