Bellingham has been ranked No. 1 for cleanest metropolitan areas in the United States for ozone air pollution.
However, when walking through this gorgeous city it’s not hard to notice the scattered debris. Cans and bottles, cigarette butts, and just plain trash can be seen anywhere. Litter is everyone’s problem, trash in our streets poses a threat to public health, especially since we live next to the ocean. The smallest bits of litter can go down storm drains and travel to the ocean where it can harm fishes and other ocean life.
I believe we can do more in Whatcom county to prevent littering. Just adding more public trashcans to parks and schools could dramatically reduce the amount of litter in our community. However, adding these trash cans will only help if they are emptied and maintained. Today, while at Squalicum Beach, I saw multiple overflowing trashcans filled way beyond their capacity. If we would like to keep our ranking for cleanest air, we need to pick up after ourselves.
This year Western Washington University added solar-powered compacting bins for recycling and compost to Red Square. The idea came from four Western students and the project was awarded a grant from the Sustainable Action Fund in June 2015. The new trash bins use solar energy to sense how full they are, then slowly and quietly compact the waste inside. This is a step in the right direction.
Katie Kuiken, Bellingham