Friday, May 20, 2011

Clean City: If Roads could talk. Litter

Main Street, the artery. A roadway used by pedestrians and cars, residents and visitors. Across her skin are tracks of rubber from tires and sneakers. Caressing her sides is a band of grass or mounds of snow depending on the season. Overreaching her expanse, bowing tree limbs throwing shadows upon the placid route.

Ah, what activity she sees! Oh, what iniquity she suffers. If she could curse, surely her asphalt would spew with disdain. She endures the effect of sourly actions of carelessness, and the purposeful act of degradation. If she could speak, what words would she choose to utter to those who make use of her passageway?

                                                                                                                Photo Credit: Pick Up America.

At six A.M., Joe throws a cigarette out his car window – a toxic deposit soon to enter the waterways. Her first ever utterance is guttural but succinct; “The world is not an ashtray”.  Joe nearly slams into the car ahead in shock, and then ponders upon his poor roadside manners. Another commuter, Susan, consumes her latte and spots a candy wrapper on the car floor. She silently curses her teenage son for his sloppiness as she tosses her empty coffee cup toward the curb. Susan fails to hear the street call out with firmness “Litter-it’s in the bag-carry one in your car”. 

Now at seven A.M. students are heading to school. A small group stops for a fast food breakfast to eat along the way. Knapsacks and pockets apparently are full as wrappers sail like kite tails behind the students and across the sidewalk and roadway. “Rubbish” the main street artery cries out. “What a load of rubbish- now give a hoot and don’t pollute” she admonishes the startled students. 

Later around ten A.M. Mary and Shawn traverse to market. They note the plastic bags, store flyers, and other trash on the ground in front of the store. Yet they show a surprising apathy toward the unsightly problem. Main Street cannot keep silent and speaks up. “Tell the storeowner the welcome mat is diminished by a trashy facade”. Mary and Joe are startled into an attitude of intolerance of litter. They decide they will alert the store manager of the opportunity to make the store more inviting by maintaining a litter- free parking lot and entrance.  Somehow, the ride home seems more pleasant to both Mary and Shawn.

Evening comes, supper wraps up.  A pleasant walk is welcome relief from a long day. John, Francis, and their dog Snoopy head out the door with poop scoop bags and two empty grocery bags. John and Francis have come to think of themselves as neat people. Not because they have, a dog named Snoopy, but because they pick up trash off the sidewalk and street as they walk. Their neighborhood is clean year round because John and Francis pick up after themselves and others.  John and Francis attribute the sound to wind as a gentle voice expresses pride, “These are neat people-they must care about how their neighborhood looks”.

Yes, a good many people of all kinds and persuasions pass by our town every day. Some may even hear a mysterious voice decrying, “Be part of the solution-carry your trash with you!”

Lend a hand picking up found trash throughout the year to help keep Vermont a special place-Green and Clean. 

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Litter Picking is an All Season Sport.

Other essay postings:
       Ø  Why are we tolerant of trash?: