Those bags of garbage left for pickup along the shoulder of roads from Saturday’s roadside cleanup are a mixed blessing. They are evidence of the amount of work some civic-minded residents exerted in giving up part of their day to gather garbage, but that garbage is also evidence of the carelessness or inconsideration of others.
The truth is, there’s no reason people should have to stoop to pick up others garbage, because it shouldn’t be there in the first place.
Unfortunately, though, many of us pay little heed when a motorist rolls down a window and tosses out a bottle or a wrapper. Some people even casually dump their garbage while in the presence of their children. How, then, are those young ones to know that they shouldn’t discard their refuse? How are those youngsters to learn that they should properly dispose of their garbage, either by taking it home or by placing it in the appropriate containers?
One certainly can’t blame youth for messes left behind when so many adults mindlessly set a poor example.
And it’s not just people pelting stuff out of their windows. There are also lots of examples around of spillage and wind-tossed debris from improperly secured loads. Old shingles from roofing projects often end up in ditches, sometimes only after the nails have caused punctures in vehicle tires. Follow a waste watch truck for a bit and one will sometimes see pieces of plastic blowing out and ending up in the ditches.
More often than not, though, the oil containers, coffee cups, beverage containers and food wrappers that end up in ditches didn’t come from poorly secured loads. They were deliberately and thoughtlessly discarded.
Thankfully, though, not everyone does that.
We commend those Islanders who think highly enough of their environment that they pick up other people’s messes. A sense of pride in doing something good for their environment is their only pay.