Rubber duckie, you’re the one,

You make picking up litter so much fun.

Hard to believe, but I just found a second rubber duckie. This one was a good 10 metres from Frame Lake, in the woods, laying on the ground and half-covered by old dead leaves. After I pulled it out and cleaned it up, this one was all dressed up like a chef. And appeared to be holding a wooden spoon and a frying pan. It had SPRINT written on its belly.

Now, if I found two rubber duckies in a rather small area, it makes you wonder how many of them are lying in wait, in and around the city. It could be hundreds, or it could be thousands. Future archaeologists are going to be wondering what the whole rubber duckie era was all about. They can be found in the garbage dump, in lakes, in forests, on outcrops, all in and around Yellowknife.

The future archaeologists might think they were part of some bizarre religion or cult. Maybe some people thought it would bring them good luck if they discarded them in the great outdoors. Either that or there were a whole lot of rubber duckies around and people weren’t particularly worried if they lost one.

Rubber duckies are interesting because not only are they a kid’s toy which you can play with in the bath, they are also a promotional item. Kids love them and I assume the Rubber Duckie song by Bert and Ernie on Sesame Street helped increase their popularity.

They are a promotional item and there are millions of them given away every year.

It is something companies, organizations, and even political candidates, will give out at conventions and meetings to promote their brand or name.

Rubber duckie, you’re the one. You got something to promote or sell. This explains why the one I found had Sprint written on it. It was out promoting Sprint Wireless. A telecommunications giant.

If anyone ever compiles a field guide of litter in the Yellowknife area, they are going to have to include a section for rubber duckies and other mysterious critters. I found a little plastic toy hyena. At least I think it is hyena. That would have to be considered an invasive species because as far as I know, hyenas don’t reside here yet. Maybe it’s an omen of things to come.

Litter is interesting because it tells a story of what humans shed and humans have always been a species that sheds a lot of stuff. I have found hockey pucks, paper clamps, chains, concrete chips, a trick or treat sign and one day a little banner that said THANK YOU. I took that as a sign from the forest spirits, thanking who ever found it for trying to keep the place clean.

People do not realize it but all the cigarette butts, candy bar wrappers and pieces of plastic from cigarette packages, abandoned zip lock bags and shopping bags, is creating a plastic layer which will eventually choke the land and lakes. Our annual city clean up may remove some litter from the more visible areas, but it only captures a small fraction of what is really out there.

Also, if you really want to clean an area you have to go over it several times to get the smaller stuff, butts and pieces of broken glass. Picking up litter is just a never-ending battle. And yet despite all the litter and garbage scattered around, the city and GNWT issue very few litter fines. A field guide to litter would need a chapter on that as well.

Maybe the city should run a contest, a litter pick up scavenger hunt, with a list of items to find plus some wild card prizes for the most interesting or unusual find.

Rubber duckie, you’re the one.

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