I live in Glasgow. My best friend lives in Edmonton. Consequently, I travel the stretch between quite often. I have to say, as someone who used to live in a fairly big city, I am disgusted by the conditions of the roads and land around here. I don’t mean potholes and overgrown grass. I mean the way so many people around here use the side of the road and the surrounding countryside as their own personal trashcans. McDonald’s bags, plastic bags, Mt. Dew and Pepsi bottles, innumerable… Even full bags filled with garbage, strewn all over, especially in the little ditches and strips of grass alongside the road.
Beverage containers typically comprise 40% to 60% of roadside litter (in non-deposit states.) In a 1999 statewide study, the Solid Waste Coordinators of Kentucky found that beverage containers and closures made up 52% of roadside litter. (source)
I have actually witnessed people pitching trash from their car. One day my husband and I were hanging out at the creek/river, and another group of people we had never met pulled up and were also just “hanging out.” Then I saw one toss an empty soda bottle right out of their vehicle onto the ground. Apparently they are just an example of the type who feel entitled to enjoy nature, and feel free to trash it for everyone else. Do these people think their trash mysteriously disappears once they pitch it? Or do they even give it a second thought? This attitude is the height of arrogance. Will these same people trash a place beyond all enjoyment or redemption and then move on? It’s bad enough this type of behavior is accepted on a global scale by industry and society, but now we can’t have any nice places?
There are a lot of people around here who literally make their living off of this land…and then there is everyone else trashing it. This is the only world we have and it is becoming smaller and smaller, with more people occupying less space. That means everyone has to be more careful in guarding our resources.
It is so frustrating to me, because I could spend eight hours a day walking the road side collecting this garbage (I would not complain without being willing to do something…) but how could I compete with so many people who just don’t have any respect for themselves or others, or else they wouldn’t trash their home. It may seem silly. It’s not like the highway around here is some endangered wildlife sanctuary, but that does not give anyone the right to trash it because they are too lazy and ignorant to use a garbage can. How much of the litter and garbage will make its way to people’s crops or be eaten by their animals?
These people that are too selfish to be aware or care how their litter impacts the earth and other people around them may need a little “push,” in the way of stricter and better enforced punishments and fines.
I should have addressed this letter to “the person whose job it is to create and enforce litter laws…” or whatever. Because, really, to “the person whose job it is to care” is not specifically accurate enough. It should be everyone’s job to care.
Frustrated with Little Hope…