Brampton students spend their summer collecting garbage


Raghav Patel and his team of volunteers

Brampton, October 30 (CINEWS): Meet Raghav Patel, a second-year business student at Wilfred Laurier and Brampton native who spent his summer scavenging for garbage across the city.
Instead of sitting around, Raghav got an idea- why not spend the summer making a real difference in the community? He decided to start a volunteer-run program called CleanUp Brampton that not only picked up litter from 28 square kilometres of trails criss-crossing Brampton, but collected and compiled detailed statistics about the amount and type of garbage strewn, in the hopes of finding ways to reduce littering.
Now that all the garbage has been collected, he is now sifting through it and his findings will be presented to city officials next year.
“The objective of CleanUp Brampton was to empower youth and create incremental amounts of positive change within the community,” said Patel, adding his idea created 572 volunteer hour opportunities for students.
He and his team set out each day with maps and notepads where they scoured the trails and noted the areas most prone to littering, spots that had no garbage cans and the volume of garbage found in certain areas.
All these findings were meticulously recorded Each eight-hour day included breaks, during which the youth participated in fun activities aimed at fostering camaraderie.
Can-India tracked down this young man on a mission.

Tell us a little about yourself and what makes you tick?
I was born in Hamilton, moved to Brampton when I was 3 and was raised there ever since.
The idea that as a young person in this stage of my life, there is nothing holding me back from making social change. I thought of this initiative; something doable by myself, and still had the potential to create an impact. A short term project I could undertake, similar to school work, but with the potential of real, incremental, social change from my work.

Why is the study of garbage so important?
There are a lot of cigarette butts. Logically, if cigarettes are bad and full of toxins, then letting them seep and erode into our soil, which filters into our water, is not in the best interests of public health. We have discovered many findings about the effectiveness of garbage cans related to their positioning, and have also developed some heuristics about litter, like the highest densities of it will be found closer to roads or parks.

Would you say your generation has socially conscious?
I am not sure, but social change is not happening at as fast as a rate as I would want it. The illusion of actual social change is not very correlated with social consciousness, as we can see with social media platforms like Twitter. In fact, the heightened level of social consciousness may contribute to a lower level of social change, a bystander effect if you will.

What are you taking at Wilfrid Laurier and where do you see yourself in your professional future?
I am currently studying Business Administration at Wilfrid Laurier University. At this exact moment, I am studying for a semester abroad in Rouen, France (take an exchange, best experience ever). In the future, there is no one career I plan to pursue, but I would like to be involved in the fields of law, social activism, and entrepreneurship.

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