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Inauguration? Why not a day of service instead? … PUYP goes Howard Cosell for a fund raiser … litter saved from the brink … and cleaner NC air

Disclaimer: I do not watch TV. I have a spiffy flat screen, but it has gathered dust without use in the past 18 months. There are better things to do with my time.

Like pick up trash/litter. So it’s interesting that regular Pick Up Your Path reader Richard Bargoil of Charlotte made a telling post on FaceBook: If you – and I am a ‘you’ – don’t support Donald Trump (from my end he’s an egregious and hyper-arrogant anti-environment nut case), then don’t watch his Jan. 20 inauguration (fake news?).

Instead, Richard suggests (and I’m paraphrasing here), you turn your energies to another form of civic duty: perform a day of service. It’s a marvelous idea.

So rather than groan & moan in front of a TV, I will instead troll for trash along my path – and may indeed extend the mileage a bit. (Here’s a great fund raising idea to bankroll Pick Up Your Path branded trash bags: Go Howard Cosell by auctioning off a brick that could be tossed by the winner through a TV screen while Not My President alternates between insulting/electrifying the electorate. Bidding starts at $10. Do I hear $20? If you’re too young to remember Howard Cosell and a brick, Google him and the brick idea.)

Great, great, great idea, Richard, for a day of service.

Aside from the simple satisfaction of simply removing litter from circulation, there is one other joy derived from this daily duty.

I routinely leave the sidewalk when I pass a storm drain.

That’s because storm drains are the point of entry for trash to escape containment and enter area watersheds. To capture some piece of litter as it rests on the precipice of a storm drain is an immensely good feeling.

So rather than be washed downstream to who-knows-where, junk is safely encapsulated in my bag for later recycling.

Still, there is a depressing side to getting up close and personal with storm drains. Almost without exception, lying a few feet below the hardened steel grates is a hodgepodge of plastic bottles, beer cans and polystyrene, et al, that I cannot reach and cannot rescue. It’s a depressing thought that what lays below will stay there until the next hard rain washes it to places unknown.

But enough debris gloom-and-doom. Now for some good news.

Toxic chemical emissions into North Carolina air dropped 79 percent in the decade from 2005 – 2015 as reported by the Charlotte Observer.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report,   the sharp drop off included less ammonia, sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid and mercury. The decline was led by lower emissions by coal-fired electric power plants. The drop is due to plants burning less coal as power generation shifts to cheaper natural gas. The largest area power producer, Duke Energy, has retired seven of its 14 coal-powered plants.

A point of wonder: when The Donald’s new environmental czar takes over, will he squelch such useful reports as the TRI as well as lift overall power plant regulation?

About Dave Bradley (264 Articles)
I'm the one behind two totally unrelated blogs; one on 15 years of writing a weekly letter to my kids (plus other recipients), the other on my localized environmental responsibility. I'm a writer by trade and both endeavors are accepted practice for me. As for the letters, my adult children Ellen and Reid may have seen letters as corny at one point, but it's accepted practice for them, too, to find something in their mailbox other than bills and junk mail. Email and texting don't do a lot for me for a lot of different reasons. Snail mail has its place in the communicative world so as long as they keep selling stamps, I'm buying. As for 'Pick Up Your Path' and the environment, I advocate what citizens can do themselves to take a direct hand in their neighborhood environment. But Pick Up Your Path is also a general environmental blog. It may be largely about litter and trash, but both of those are just one element of the total environmental picture.

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