Nfld. & Labrador

Trash talk: Steady Brook resident says Humber River litter out of control

A long-time resident of Steady Brook says the amount of littler he's seen along Newfoundland's Humber River has dramatically increased over the past three years or so.

Ken Huxter says abandoned inflatable rafts are a huge part of the problem

An example of the litter Ken Huxter says he's been seeing along the Humber River. (Submitted by Ken Huxter)

A man in Steady Brook, on Newfoundland's west coast, is fed up with garbage piling up along the Humber River.

Ken Huxter, a retired fishing guide, has been enjoying the Humber River for almost 50 years.

But he said the litter left behind by river travellers has gotten exponentially worse over the past few years.

It's like all sense of fairness and justice and cleanliness and quietness disappears.- Ken Huxter

"In the past three years it has been 100 fold or more," Huxter told CBC Radio's The Corner Brook Morning Show.

The litter Huxter said he is seeing ranges from beer and pop cans, to articles of clothing. A big problem, he said, is inexpensive, inflatable rafts and the people, or "rafters," who use them.

Huxter says the most common items he sees littered along the Humber River are beer cans and bottles, pop cans, towels, articles of clothing and inflatable rafts. (Submitted by Ken Huxter)

"These young people — and they range in all ages from two up to parents, but the majority of them are younger people — and their idea about preserving the beautiful river that they're rafting in is not as strong as it should be," he said.

"In some cases they're going down with beer and pop and juice, and water bottles of course, and loose items of clothing … And it is either being thrown out, [and] in some cases deposited on the river banks, [and] floating down the river."

Education, respect key

Huxter said he recently took his son-in-law fishing and in visiting only two stops along the river, he picked up a garbage bag full of trash.

He said he's even pulled a large abandoned tarp out of a tree.

Ken Huxter calls garbage left in the woods, like this abandoned raft, an "eyesore." (Submitted by Ken Huxter)

"It just seems that when they get out here, and get excited about this lovely ride they're going to take, it's like all sense of fairness and justice and cleanliness and quietness disappears," Huxter said.

Huxter made it clear he does not blame professional tour companies for the garbage, adding the town is doing what they can by erecting signs and rope barriers.

The only solution in Huxter's mind is education, and teaching people who use the river for enjoyment "about the responsibility of preserving this beautiful, beautiful valley and river that we have here."

With files from The Corner Brook Morning Show