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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Between the Holidays--A Man on a Bike

As you may have read, I was in bed with a fever on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. But, by Monday I was on the mend. Then, on Tuesday night I took a turn for the worse. Now, I can tough it out for two more weeks or I can succumb to the desire to be well much by NYE! So, I went to the doctor. I. Have. Meds. Yay! I will not have to spend New Year's Eve and New Year's Day in bed with a fever!

I was sitting in my car outside the doctor's office, reading the report given to me by the nurse at my request. A guy was sitting on his bike at the bread store across the small side street. He ate some goody he had purchased from the bread store, carefully folded the paper, and stuffed it into something he had--backpack or something. Then, he rode his bike across the street near me and started smoking. Surreptitiously, I watched to see what he did with the butt. He had parked his bike right in front of the building entrance, and I wondered why. Soon, I saw. He parked within arm's length of a receptacle for butts and he used the receptacle. Good guy! Twice he did not litter.

Mrs. Green at My Zero Waste wrote a blog post about littering today. Her little girl, Little Miss Green, is adorable and oh so conscious of green matters, waste, and loves buying used.

Picking up litter can be rewarding on many levels. Finding completely usable or reusable items is my favorite perk. Getting paid for recycling cans is a favorite with many people who actually depend on recycling cans to live. Leaving a place free of debris is like decluttering and cleaning your house. Okay, since I have not done either, I just used my imagination of that one. Just knowing you have done a good deed for the earth is another reward.

When a friend and I took a shortcut through a country area I had never visited, we went for one purpose--I wanted to find discarded old wooden broom and mops in order to get the sticks for a craft project and to get any water hoses we found. Okay, that is two. But, the one purpose was scrounging things from a place another friend said had turned into a dump for people unwilling to pay the landfill/dump fee.

Although we found useful things to fill the bed of his pickup, we both found the scenery lovely and horrid.

The isolated road was winding but paved. At the edge of the pavement, literally, the bank went almost straight down for fifty or sixty feet, maybe more. Below was a lovely stream, meandering along over big rocks, rocks that ranged from basketball size to microwave size on up to rocks half the size of a Volkswagen. The sound of the creek, the flitting and singing of birds, the rustle of the green leaves, the fresh, earthy smell all added to the charm of the site.

People took sofas and recliners, refrigerators and microwaves, toys and cleaning supplies, took them and shoved them over the edge of the road. Some were stopped by the saplings that lined the bank. So, the litter of furniture was completely covering the bank. Other household items managed to make it to the creek bed. I wanted to cry. It was hard to really look at the creek with the trash distractions we found. Whole households of furniture were dumped.

As I gingerly looked through some of the boxes on the side of the roadway, I noted that contents of a whole kitchen was in a stack of boxes. Other boxes in the stack were the contents of bathroom cabinets, linen closets, and toy boxes. No, I don't think this was a mother decluttering.

I will not litter the roads and byways. However, I do throw trash in the floor of my car--my answer to littering. I really freak out if someone throws anything from my car. As a matter of fact, I get upset if I am with someone who starts throwing even one item from his or her own car window. There are stiff penalties for littering in most places in the US.

In my neighborhood, homeowners pick up litter in the streets and curbs. Of course, I live on a corner and am treated to many cans thrown up over my retaining wall and into my yard. Lovely............

Downtown, the city just installed attractive trash cans on every corner. Oh, they ripped up sidewalk to landscape. The idea is not only to beautify, but to deter any litter being thrown on the streets. We will avert any problems with serious crime. This is a small, Southern town, but someone planted a pipe bomb about two weeks ago, in a car wash of all places. I digress.

People in Alabama have an Adopt-A-mile program. A person, family, church, civic group, Boy Scouts, a business or whatever commits to keeping one mile of country roadways free of litter. They even put up signs noting who was doing the litter picking. I have not noticed any signs lately. Maybe I have seen them so long that I not longer see them.

Mrs. Green said people don’t litter in an area free of  litter. Also, research has shown that littered streets have more crimes committed in those areas. I searched with swagbucks and typed in “litter and crime” and got this research report. There are other articles available in the same search.
Since it is dark now, I won't be putting a picture of litter on tonight. Maybe tomorrow?

Your turn
Do you pick up litter like Little Miss Green? Does your area accumulate lots of litter.


  1. that was beautiful writing; so moving - thank you! I think litter can touch us in such profound ways; who would have believed it. We don't have anything quite so horrific as the scene you have mentioned, but it breaks my heart in one area of our forest where people see fit to dump car tyres - you have to pay to landfill them, so it's the 'cheap' option. At a great cost to the beauty and health of the environment though ...

  2. If the car tires ever catch on fire, deliberately or accidentally, you will have a problem much worse than littering! Since we have to pay to leave tires at the place where we have new ones installed on our cars, I wonder why there is just not a place where we can recycle them like we do cans, getting a return for our effort. I have to pay $5 for each tire that my tire store keeps to recycle. Someone charges him.


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