Keeping the North Cariboo clean by picking up one piece of trash at a time

Finding ways to work for the benefit of the environment has always been a passion for Burke, who took a selfie on Monday, April 26 after picking up trash in her community. Burke was 15-years-old when she learned to scuba dive and went snorkeling with humpback whales, an experience she credits with showing her the connection all living things have. (Quesnel & Area Trash Trackers Facebook)Finding ways to work for the benefit of the environment has always been a passion for Burke, who took a selfie on Monday, April 26 after picking up trash in her community. Burke was 15-years-old when she learned to scuba dive and went snorkeling with humpback whales, an experience she credits with showing her the connection all living things have. (Quesnel & Area Trash Trackers Facebook)
Bouchie Lake area resident Heather Burke said she and her family enjoy the outdoors and unfortunately have seen garbage everywhere, including lakes when they go kayaking. One area she believes would be great to see garbage cans installed is by the Quesnel Golf Club where many leave trash behind in an area used as a pullout. (Quesnel & Area Trash Trackers Facebook)Bouchie Lake area resident Heather Burke said she and her family enjoy the outdoors and unfortunately have seen garbage everywhere, including lakes when they go kayaking. One area she believes would be great to see garbage cans installed is by the Quesnel Golf Club where many leave trash behind in an area used as a pullout. (Quesnel & Area Trash Trackers Facebook)

Picking up trash has become a daily activity for Heather Burke, who hopes others will join her in making an impact in their community.

A Facebook group recently created by Burke called Quesnel and Area Trash Trackers has 59 members across the North Cariboo committed to picking up litter.

She calls it a full-time job cleaning up the road she lives on near Bouchie Lake. Dirt bike riders often use a gravel pit on Paradise Road and Burke said a lot of trash gets left behind.

“I walk by it every day, and it used to make me mad because I’d see this litter all over the place, but then there’s a quote— ‘don’t wait for somebody else to solve the problem when we have the power ourselves to take action,’” she said.

“And so one day — and I embarrassed my daughter doing it — but I just brought a garbage bag with me.”

Read More: PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

On Monday, April 26, Burke had the day off from her residential home cleaning job. Donning a yellow safety vest and wearing gloves, she armed herself with garbage bags as she walked from Paradise Road up to Blackwater Road to Rocky’s General Store.

Burke said she received honks and waves from people in vehicles passing by and many sent her private messages on Facebook offering to help with her next litter pickup.

“This page is kind of an experiment to see if I can actually get people to work on the litter problem together,” she added.

The creation of Quesnel and Area Trash Trackers follows this year’s Earth Day, where individual and small group cleanups took place around the globe.

As the Facebook group grows, as does Burke’s other page—Waste Free Living North Cariboo, she hopes her efforts will not only lead to larger cleanups of parks and trails but inspire individuals to reduce their own consumption of single-use plastics and products containing unnecessary packaging.

Burke said her own family has been able to reduce their number of trips to the dump weekly to once every two months.

Read More: Quesnel City Council approves new residential garbage fines


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