Keep ditches clean, don’t litter!

By: Craig Lester

How many times this year have you driven down a country road and seen countless pieces of garbage in the ditch?

Unfortunately, most of us will say this is a common occurrence.

Not only is it unsightly, litter left in these natural spaces, like ditches and public right-of-ways, impacts the habitat of birds, bees and other pollinators and small animals.

Plastics products dangerous

Plastic products carelessly discarded can cause severe issues if swallowed by birds.

According to the Edmonton & Area Land Trust, many birds are drawn to the bright colours of plastics.

Small pieces of the trash are then consumed, which can cause severe issues as birds can’t digest these items.

This can lead to them eventually starving to death because the plastic blocks their stomachs.

Broken plastic, glass and metal items often have sharp edges and can cut birds inside and out.

Attracts predators

Left over food thrown in the ditch or on the ground attracts predators such as coyotes, foxes, or feral cats, which love to feast on pheasants.

The rotting food is also going to bring with it ticks and mites, which then jump onto birds and cause disease.

The rotting food also produces bacteria and chemicals which can be harmful.

Everyone’s responsibility

Keeping ditches and public right-of-ways clean is everyone’s responsibility.

Don’t throw garbage out the window as you are driving down the road.  If you are having dinner out in the field during harvest make sure everything is picked up and properly disposed of and if you are out hunting make sure you leave no trace you were there by picking up all of your garbage.

Right of ways are your to enjoy, but please clean up after yourself and keep our edges natural.

Save the Edges is bringing awareness of the issues of trespass farming and the values of intact roadside ditches and undeveloped public right-of-ways to southern Alberta’s landowners.

Check back often at as we delve into many of the topics we have touched on above.