Nova Scotia

Lockeport woman picks up 8,500 disposable cups in under a year

Melda Roache Clark said she began picking up disposable beverage cups after noticing how many of them were in ditches during her walks. So far, the Lockeport, N.S., woman has collected thousands. She wants drivers who toss the cups out the windows of their vehicles to stop.

'Please stop tossing stuff out your windows,' says Melda Roache Clark

These are just some of the disposable cups Melda Roache Clark has picked up this year. This photo is from July. (Submitted by Melda Roache Clark)

A retired teacher from Lockeport, N.S., has picked up more than 8,500 disposable cups this year along roads in Shelburne County.

Melda Roache Clark has also picked up thousands of refundable bottles and cans too. She told CBC's Mainstreet on Wednesday she started doing the pickup after setting a goal of walking 10,000 steps a day.

After winter passed, she noticed an abundance of trash in ditches and on the sides of roads.

"At first, I commented to people there's so much trash in the ditches," she said. "And then one day, for some reason, I got this brilliant idea, I'm going to pick up some of this trash."

She focused on picking up disposable cups and refundable cans and bottles, and then started tracking the number of cups she was picking up.

"We couldn't believe it. It went from 1,000 to 2,000 to 3,000 and as of yesterday, I'm over 8,500," she said.

Roache Clark runs a Facebook page called Oceans Matter To Everyone where she posts pictures of her daily hauls to raise awareness of her work and the trash problem.

She said she walks on Highway 3 between Lockeport and Jordan Falls, and then turns on to Highway 103  toward Shelburne.

"From Lockeport to Shelburne is 30 kilometres. But I can pick those same areas just about every day and get a fresh lot of cups, cans and bottles," she said.

Roache Clark said she finds older versions of single-use beverage cups in ditches with designs that haven't been around in years.

She said many of those older disposable cups have plastic liners in them that don't break down. She said her goal is to keep them from getting into the ocean and has a message for people who litter.

"Please stop tossing stuff out your windows," Roache Clark said.

'Hopes and dreams in the next generation'

Roache Clark said she hopes to set an example for her three grandchildren. She said they're horrified by people throwing things out of vehicles.

"I'm placing my hopes and dreams in the next generation," she said.

With files from CBC's Mainstreet

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