There’s a big roadside cleanup coming up and lots of folks are pretty excited about it. Keeping our communities looking good, etc. Me, not so much.
While I absolutely admire all the volunteers that will be working the roadside cleanup, I think we as a state can do better. If people didn’t throw things out of their vehicles with no consideration for their environment or the folks that have to pick the trash up, there would be no need for events like this. These fine people could spend family time, enjoy puttering around the house or any number of other things instead of picking up your trash that weekend.
I have to do this every time before I mow my lawn. I can’t mow until I pick up the trash. Back in the day, Iron Eyes Cody was on TV in what I thought were powerful ads encouraging us to be better stewards of our planet. There is nothing like that today.
As you readers know, I’m not big on research, but sometimes I do a Google search just to be certain I’m somewhat factual. Search Maine anti-litter or any other search words to see if you find a statewide initiative to fight litter. I didn’t find anything, and to me, that’s where the problem starts.
Here’s why this bothers me. People go along about their business, throwing stuff out of their cars and then once a year they read about a big roadside cleanup and think: “That’s cool. People are out there picking up the stuff I’ve thrown out all year. I can keep doing it and next year, those good people will clean up after me again. I’ll be home watching the Red Sox while they’re out there in the ditches.”
How about we take this Route 1 cleanup effort this year and make the first of the last? Let’s lean on our local politicians to fund anti-littering campaigns, including more signs, increased enforcement, and public service announcements. Shamelessly stealing from Texas, I like the slogan, “DON’T MESS WITH ME.!”
If we all get onboard this anti-litter train, we can make a real difference. It will take several years, I’m sure, but there is no reason that good people should have to give up their spring weekend in this beautiful part of the world to pick up other people’s trash. None at all.
Bill Packard lives in Union