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Richmond resident raises awareness of mask, garbage littering

More than 600 littered masks were picked up since mid-March

A garbage picker-upper is normally not a person’s weapon of choice, but for one Richmond resident, it’s the best battle gear she received during the pandemic.

Donna Jones started noticing more masks and garbage littered on the streets during her daily walks in the past couple of months and now she can’t help but start picking up the trash.

While Jones said there are a variety of items strewn along the sidewalk, the most concerning item among them are face masks.

 “I was so surprised to see so many masks littered on the streets and sometimes on lawns,” said Jones.

“Community service can only go so far, so people need to start taking responsibility for their wrappers and masks.”

Jones claimed she has picked up more than 600 masks since mid-March when she started keeping track of what she found on her walks and the number is still going up.

She added that she would always leave her house with a bag and her trusty garbage picker-upper – a gift from her husband – and return home with a half-full shopping bag of random wrappers, cups, straws and other items.

Jones told the Richmond News that she understands people can accidentally drop their masks unknowingly when they take something out of their pocket, but the number of masks appearing on the same route is “too suspicious.”

“I picked up 10 masks on my walk to Steveston one evening and the next morning I picked up another nine on the same route,” she said.

“When the mask or garbage is two steps away from a bus stop receptacle, it shows that some people just don’t really care.”

While Jones has raised her concerns to city workers while on her garbage cleaning walk, she believes this “mind-boggling” problem is something community members need to work together on.

“Where’s our community pride to keep our neighbourhood clean? Not only does it look not neat, it makes us look like we don’t care about our neighbourhood.”