On a visit to Ireland a few years ago, my first impression was of trash. Roadside trash, everywhere. More so in the urban areas, less in the countryside. At the time of this writing, my corner of the United States looks very much the same.

Every day, the dogs and I walk, on average, a half mile from the house. That encompasses four different roads. Rural roads. Many days, I pick up a grocery bag full of debris: papers, beer and soda cans and bottles, cigarette packets, and miscellaneous “stuff” that might be considered offensive. Some days it’s two bags full. I also pick up cigarette butts because they are toxic to fish; around here any rainstorm can flush butts into the creek.

Why do people need to use roads as their dump?

I am often tempted to post signs such as “Leave your butts at home”, or, at our tighter curves, “You don’t know what’s around the corner!”. But I know that trying to instill some sense into drivers who are mentally pre-occupied and apparently don’t care, is a futile exercise. At one point, I put up a poster saying Slow Down, with a photograph of my Siamese cat who had been killed on the road. That got some attention but the poster soon became part of the landscape as usually happens with road signs. Even Stop signs. Our lives are so inundated with signs that often we never see them.

Driving and thinking about other things is a serious issue in this country. We are assaulted by a multitude of distractions: plans for the day, a ‘phone call, kids in the car, the agenda for errands, books on tape, discussions on the radio, the GPS, maybe a serious illness, or death. It is difficult to juggle all this and still honor the fact that you are operating a potentially lethal weapon.

Tossing trash out of the car is a relatively minor event. So what if our roadsides look like a dump? Who cares?

So here’s the thing – why doesn’t everyone clean up their own property? Whether you rent or own, a house or apartment, private or a company, pitch in to clean up our environment. If everybody did their part, we could have a cleaner country, and at least superficially, an environment that says “we care”.  


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3 Responses to TRASH !

  1. When we all pitch in, it helps. I walk one mile, each way on the road in front of our house. I’ve been picking up the litter for years. I have neighbors who go out, especially for Earth Day, and pick up litter. It looks so much nicer. Thanks to all who help.


  2. Peggy says:

    On my first drive across country to see our “America the beautiful”, I was shocked by the trash along the roadside. It so spoiled the view that I’ve been content to fly over it ever since.


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