Concerned residents highlighting Conception Bay North trash problem

Photographer Eugene Howell loves capturing shots of scenic Northern Bay Sands, one of the few sandy beaches in the province. 

This summer, however, he's been capturing a troubling amount of garbage.

Howell sent pictures to CBC News of a recent trip to the beach, where he found trash littered through the trees. He believes it's from people who camped out overnight and left everything behind in the morning.

It's not only disgusting, he said — it's all too frequent.

"We all need to change our attitudes towards garbage," Howell said. 

"We all should take a step back and realize that this is a stunning, natural part of the world and we all need to take care of it."

Northern Bay Sands was a provincial park until it was privatized in 1997. People often come and camp outside the park, and Howell said they are prone to leaving their garbage on the ground.

He hopes that by sharing pictures and videos of the mess, it will put people on notice.

"It's going to make people aware that other people are watching."

Eugene Howell

Issue all along the coast

Brendon Follett has been helping with a cleanup program in Conception Bay North ever since he retired with his wife in the area five years ago.

With his pickup truck doubling as a garbage truck, Follett combed the roads up and down the coastline in communities like Adams Cove, Northern Bay and Western Bay.

In the first few years, he said they picked up a shocking amount of trash, often filling the pan of his pickup multiple times during the summer. While it's still a prevalent problem, Follett said he only collected a few bags full this year.

Submitted by Eugene Howell

"It's a big difference," he said. "I think we got people a little scared, no doubt. They know we're watching them."

Both Follett and Howell said more needs to be done to educate people on littering.

"Government has to step in with more education probably, and you know, making more aware to kids in school," Follett said. 

"Take your kid out and show them that this is not acceptable anymore."

Mark Quinn/CBC

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