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How can you help?

This is pretty damning evidence that societally we're not doing so hot at putting junk in its place. This pile is from one day.

This is pretty damning evidence that societally we’re not doing so hot at putting junk in its place. This pile is from one day. How much will you collect on your first day?

This is trash I pick up. I’d encourage you to do the same.

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?’

What sort of future can Emma look forward to if we don't give her an environment as clean as we can make it?

What sort of future can Emma look forward to if we don’t give her an environment as clean as we can make it?

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?

1 Comment on How can you help?

  1. Nancy J. Nance // January 10, 2015 at 11:20 pm // Reply

    David I do take a bag and pick up my path as I walk. I sometimes think the people who trash out planet are waiting to see how quickly we come along to pick it up since it seems a lot of the trash is the same that was picked up the day before. ??

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