Skip to content

OPINION: Electoral Pollution

Well, it's election season again.

Well, it's election season again. How can you tell? Other than the constant and justifiable grumblings about this unneeded and costly election campaign, you can tell by the overwhelming barrage of campaign signs that have sprung up like weeds in our town. 
Don\'t get me wrong, I completely understand the reasoning behind these signs. Candidates need to be able to get their name out to people who may not know about them, garner interest in their party and policies. I will even put a sign on my lawn for a candidate that I truly believe in. 
My issue is the sheer number of signs that have appeared. I drive the new route from Riversong down into the town centre, and I couldn't believe when I drove to work the other morning how profusely the roundabouts on the route were littered with various campaign signs. On one roundabout, there was at least 16 signs for one single candidate, factor in the other candidate signs and you are looking at 30 plus signs on a small piece of land. Have candidates given up on a solid platform and actually meeting with constituents? Do they believe that the people of today\'s world will just look at the sheer number of signs and say “well, if they can put out that many signs, they must be the right person for the job”? Or is this just the newest way for campaigns to measure the size of their know. Perhaps its just laziness on the part of the campaign team that puts them out. Just litter a couple of roundabouts with signs to fill their quota. I drove down 22 into town just to see what it was like on that route and there was a mere fraction of the signs. 
One word that I have used a couple of times in this rant is 'litter'. That is because I truly feel that littering is exactly what this is. Not because I don\'t agree with a particular candidates views, or that I hate elections, it\'s because I don\'t like seeing the town I love inundated by unnecessary signage. Roundabouts aren't always particularly beautiful, but the landscaping has been done and normally, its a nice little drive to and from work. Now it is just an eyesore, blocks of colour and faces needlessly taking up too much space. Even my 7 year old has noticed. On his way to and from summer camp, he has asked “why do they need so many signs?” and “isn't that littering?”. Then after the election, what happens to the signs? I know that some will go into storage for the next election, but I also know that a lot will end up in landfills. And for those candidates that don\'t run again? So much garbage. The signs, not the candidates. Cochrane is a town that has always been very forward thinking when it comes to recycling and being Eco-friendly. How is this in line with the values that Cochrane strives for? 
I am keeping my own political leanings out of this, because I know that the parties that I follow are as equally to blame as all the others. This is strictly based on the way I feel as drive to and from work everyday, seeing all of those needlessly placed campaign signs. 
Campaigns can do better, they should do better. In this age when environmental concerns are growing day by day, when digital advertising is abundant and cheap, there is no reason that our roadways should be littered, I say again, littered with disposable advertising. 

 - Jeremy Coulter