Several times a day, I’ve spotted someone tossing trash as they cut across my yard and also throwing trash out of their car windows.
This shouldn’t surprise me. After all, the evidence that people litter is everywhere. I’ve done my share of picking up when someone walking ahead of me drops candy wrappers. I remember running across one huge pile of cigarette butts just at the entrance to my driveway. Apparently someone made a regular habit of emptying his or her ashtray there.
Witnessing someone in the very act of treating my yard like their garbage bin is still shocking. I’m not sure which troubles me most: that they don’t care about defacing their community or that they don’t care who sees them doing it.
People are sometimes forced to pick up trash from roadsides as a community service, a punishment that seems designed as much to cause them embarrassment as to clean the environment. Litterers seem to have no care at all.
That’s hard for me to understand. I remember Lady Bird Johnson’s highway beautification crusade. The “Don’t be a litterbug” jingle and the image of a Native American weeping might seem corny now but it was effective. I was determined that littering was anathema and determined not to do it.
Citizens of Terrebonne have even more reason not to trash the community: garbage contributes to street flooding, it despoils the landscape and makes visitors think that we don’t care about our homes. Why should they?
Children are bombarded with far more complex messages about the environment and their responsibility as stewards. That’s good. Simple reminders to put trash where it belongs are needed, too.
Alice R. Fields,