How can you help?
The tools of the trade to carry this illicit cargo are simple – a plastic grocery bag. A pair of gloves wouldn’t hurt, either.
But the biggest hurdle is commitment.
Commitment to stoop over to pick up that first piece of trash. Commitment to doing something good, commitment to your local (and the downstream) environment. Really, there’s nothing else to it.
There’s also a responsibility to recycle what you collect. To me, anything plastic is the chief enemy. Recyclable plastics have triangular markings to denote what subgroup the item belongs to. Commercial recyclers are loathe to mix varying plastics. You’ll need to group like plastics together. The main evils – polyethylene terephthalate – are those you find in soda and water bottles. Luckily, they are readily recycled.
Those triangular markings look like this for polyethylene terephthalate: (Click on the Plastic tab for more details.)
The damage to our environment, including water and wildlife, is one thing. But then there is the contribution of trash to visual urban blight. We can do better. Every day, my hands need a good washing, and my camera is on overtime to photograph my ‘finds.’ (Thank goodness I don’t catalog litter anymore.) But dirty hands are a welcome trade off since there is also the sense of pride, the sense of doing something good, and performing an act of public service. My grand scheme is to have others (i.e. you) join me in this crusade but knowing all the well that it will take time, promotion and, truthfully, a strong enough stomach to encounter the refuse of others.
What’s not so simple is the mindset that says ‘I can do that, too’ and to buckle down to do just that every day. Many days when I’m accumulating a bag full of junk, I think of my granddaughter, Emma. ‘What are we leaving her?’
I ask that of myself. I am embarrassed at the answer. I just go on my way, stopping every few feet to pick up yet another bit of litter from some unthinking dolt. I keep on keeping on, picking up my path as I go.
Will you join me?