Thursday, June 24, 2010

Clean City: Field guide to Litter, Vermont edition.

Litter Picking is an All Season Sport.

Field Guide to Litter 
Vermont Edition

Learn more about the litter found in our community in the Vermont edition of A Field Guide to Litter. Note to teachers: guide is appropriate for ages 4-99. Recommended reading for those seeking Detritus Debris Degree. This field guide is an introduction to familiar species of urban trash found on city streets, sidewalks, lawns, stream banks, and hanging from trees. This field guide lists the common name followed by the scientific name.

A Field Guide to Litter

1. Redeemable bottle or can (Lost Nickel Wrap).

Cans often rusty, crushed, flattened, or otherwise mangled. Bottles may be broken; handle with care-gloves recommended. The occasional mouse or other small creature could be expired inside the container. To avoid gross odors, seal container in plastic garbage bag and dispose of properly as soon as possible.

2. Non-Redeemable bottle or can including water bottles (High Profit Water).

Bottled water is much more expensive than tap water. The quality may be poorer. Then to add injury to insult the plastic bottle becomes litter.

3. Take-out food wrappers or drink containers (Fast Wrap).

Urban litter is often high in food wrappings (coffee and drink cups, burger wrappers, chip bags etc.). Fast food does not have to equal fast litter.

4. Plastic non-food packaging (Oil Wrap)

Manufacturing of plastic requires oil. If we leave, pieces of plastic on the ground long enough will it turn back to oil, seep into the ground and diminish our oil crisis?

5. Cardboard or paper non-food packaging (Tree Wrap)

My theory is someone witnessed cardboard flying off the back of a truck hauling uncovered waste or spilling from an uncovered recycle bin and then came up with the idea of the Frisbee.

6. Cigarette package (Iron Lung Wrap).

Here is where one can have some empathy or at least understanding of an act of littering. A smoker likely has lung damage that affects their ability to carry themselves about. It is probably difficult for them to carry their empty cigarette package to a trashcan.

7. Automobile parts, including tires (Heavy Trash).

Johnny Cash could have filled his lunch box with one piece at a time by picking up heavy trash and then building himself that 59, 60, 69, 70 Cadillac from the car parts littered on stream banks and in wooded areas.

8. Clothing and any cloth material (People Wrap)

If the Salvation Army ever runs out of unmatched shoes, pink bras, as well as sweaters, shirts, and other apparel they need only join a Green and Clean litter brigade to gather materials to replenish their stockpile.

9. Cigarette butts (Toxic Time Bombs).

At busy intersections, accumulations of butts make the road an ashtray. Not only are the butts aesthetically putrid, but these chemical dispensing filters keep on giving for years releasing their nasty elements into the environment-air and water- and sometimes are ingested by fish and other aquatic life.

10. This line Open for your entry. Hurry, deadline for national publication of “A Field Guide to Litter” is quickly approaching. Send your litter common and scientific name and descriptions to be included in this repugnant yet educational litter guide to llitterstories@yahoo(dot)com.

Latest public entries include,

                                           Released Balloons  (Floating Silent Bomb)

                       (Chokeweed) for animals and aquatic life.

Unsolved Mystery. UFL (Unidentified flying Litter)   Over a number of weeks in the spring of 2012 I found dozens of these discs.        

11. Sewer Strainers: Sometimes found on beaches, but also found along dirt roads or other public areas. Occupant most usually not in attendance.  Alternative: Kreuger Biofilm Chips-used in some sewage treatment plants.

Vermont's Green Up Day is the first Saturday in May every year.
 "Vermont was the first state to designate a day to clean up the entire state. Started in 1970 by Gov. Deane C. Davis (pictured above with a troop of Cub Scouts on Interstate 89).  Green Up Day 1971 was also officially recorded in the Congressional Record, thanks to US Senator George Aiken. 

That first year, the results were far beyond expectations. Four thousand truck loads were reported hauled by the Highway Department comprising over 20,000 cubic yards of trash removed from the Interstate and other state roads, and another 20,000 cubic yards, or more, were removed from town roads. Ninety-five percent (95%) of the 2,400 miles comprising the Interstate and other state roads were cleared and an estimated 75% of the 8,300 miles of town roads

45 years later, Green Up Day continues to thrive! In 1979 the Green Up endeavor became a private undertaking through the establishment of a private, non-profit corporation called Vermont Green Up, Inc. In 1997, it began “doing business as” Green Up Vermont. Its efforts now reach out to promote the Green Up ethic and spirit year round through its slogan, “Live the Green Up Way Every Day!” ~Green Up Vermont

Bernie publishes essays and photos reflecting Vermont values of Green and Clean and Community. He urges us all to, pick up litter and maintain a litter free environment through caring, community, and contribution in order to protect our water, wildlife, and human health. 
Bernie resides in SB, Vermont