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Worthy of F-bombs…

I was never a sailor. I just talk like one.

Especially when I stumble upon some of the worst, most environmentally egregious materials people carelessly fling aside or, perhaps worse, don’t manage the recycling or disposal of same.

This falls in the latter category. There’s a multi-story office building under construction in the tony portion of Southpark just south of the intersection of Fairview and Sharon Road in Charlotte. The owners are at the stage where the finishing touches are being applied. And to protect those ‘finishing touches’ in transit to the work site, polystyrene is used as a cushion/protectant.

That’s the rub. It’s a low quality polystyrene (aka styrofoam) that literally crumbles in your hand. The contractor has installed a chain link fence around the site, but that does little or nothing to confine the polystyrene I’ve witnessed workers toss aside from the upper floors.

Once the chunks and slabs and sheets hit the ground, it’s free to blow in the wind – and it does. And this is where the F-bombs come in, and they come in frequently.

This could be a normal sight if this was Minnesota in December. But this is North Carolina on a 50F day. Polystyrene blows freely and collects in these wretched mini-drifts.

This could be a normal sight if this was Minnesota in December. But this is North Carolina on a 50F day. Polystyrene blows freely and collects in these wretched mini-drifts.

Day after day after day I’ve collected this jetsam that has escaped the work site. ‘WTF’ and the longer iterations of the F-bomb are a common refrain, although the traffic on Sharon tends to drown me out. Bag after bag after bag of this stuff has been scooped up but I’m helpless to corral all of it, notably the small chunks/individual pellets that will never be retrieved.

No doubt the chain link fence is intended to keep materials in - but not the smallish pieces of easily disintegrated polystyrene. I've been the de facto clean up force.

No doubt the chain link fence is intended to keep materials in – but not the smallish pieces of easily disintegrated polystyrene. I’ve been the de facto clean up force.

Just north of the adjacent SunTrust building, the pellets collect like so much snow in mini-drifts in the relatively balmy Southern temperatures. Where will that junk go? I’ve stooped many times to retrieve larger chunks from either of two storm grates just a few yards from the porous chain link fence. More F-bombs.

In a few days I’ll post about a whale that died recently, it’s innards blocked by all manner of man-made plastic and other flotable junk/discards that, as these small polystyrene pellets might eventually do, reaches the ocean and for all the world looks like food to the creatures below. Talk about more F-bombs. At least I was inside when I said them aloud.

Lots of bags, mostly filled with polystyrene. F-bombs when I picked it up, F-bombs when I dropped it off at home.

Lots of bags, mostly filled with polystyrene. F-bombs when I picked it up, F-bombs when I dropped it off at home.

I hate that I have to pick polystyrene up. Worth hating even more is the thought that much of it is beyond my reach, as it is at however many other construction sites that repeat ad nauseam what I’ve been seeing for weeks now.

Worthy of F-bombs? Damn straight it is.

About Dave Bradley (264 Articles)
I was a writer by trade so one would think letters would come easily for me. It is so now, but wasn't always that way. Indeed, the first letter was written the Monday after Ellen started her freshman year in college. For years I've wondered - with no good answers - why I swiveled my office chair toward my computer screen to fire up a word processing document for that first letter. I just don't know. I just did. Perhaps it was the angst of separation or wanting to say things that had gone unsaid at that moment when we parted ways in front of her college dormitory. What was a one-off became habitual. When her brother Reid enrolled in the same college, his name was added to the salutation line. They were kids then and are adults now. No matter. The letter writing habit remains so today. I live in Brevard, North Carolina. I'm well away from where they live and don't see them nearly as often as I'd like. That's why letters, at least to me, fill the void of distance. The pages give me something to say and the space to say it. There is no assurance they read the letters; indeed, I have never asked if they do so. With the pace of their busy lives who could blame them for letting a letter sit unopened? Over time, it has dawned on me that the letters are both communicative - and cathartic. By nature, letters are about the writer; the writer can only write about their situation. Perhaps that is as it should be. It's all about the here and now from one person's perspective.

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