Clean up after yourself! No, I am not yelling at my 17-year-old daughter, whose room often seems as if a whirlwind has descended upon it. I am talking to you, the collective you who has decided that …
Clean up after yourself! No, I am not yelling at my 17-year-old daughter, whose room often seems as if a whirlwind has descended upon it. I am talking to you, the collective you who has decided that Sullivan County is your personal trash bin. Why is it that you feel it is your right to throw whatever piece of garbage you no longer want in your car out of the window and onto the roadway? Do you think that the existing landscape is too pristine and needs a bit of despoilment? Or do you honestly believe that it is the responsibility of someone else to clean up after you?
Really, I would like to know what possesses you to toss your personal waste anywhere in the county that you fancy, without giving a thought to the visual blight that you are creating?
On my daily walk along a stretch of wooded road by my Catskill home, I have made it a practice to pick up litter. It seems to increase by the week. The majority of what I gather are beer cans, mostly of the “Lite” variety, but high-energy soft drink cans seem to be running a close second.
At least they are somewhat clean and can be recycled, but other detritus is of a more questionable nature. For instance, there was the used adult diaper that someone had decided to deposit on the edge of the road, replete with wet wipes, and the Styrofoam food containers with half-eaten meals plonked down on the verge. Very large plastic beverage containers with straws inserted are left to blow along the asphalt and into the woods with their single-use water bottle cousins.
Why individuals are concerned with the purity of the water that they imbibe and not the ecological impact of dumping plastic containers haphazardly all about our towns and hamlets is something beyond my ability to fathom.
I have had to climb down into a ravine on my property to remove a variety of household items that one or more people found too burdensome to bring to the transfer station. Found in this detritus are a console television, circa 1980s; a trio of large air conditioning units; innumerable tires with and without rims; and several one-gallon containers of muriatic acid, one of which had broken open and spilled its caustic contents into the soil near my stream.
If more responsible citizens would remove unsightly refuse near where they live, it would result in a cleaner environment for all of us, but it really should not fall to us to pick up after those who are determined to transform our beautiful county into a giant dumpster.
I wish that I could offer a better solution to this problem, but I haven’t one. In my dreams, I track down the offenders and dump the rubbish that I have collected onto their front lawns and watch the expressions on their faces as they see what I have done to their personal haven. In reality, however, I suspect that you will see me patrolling the section of my road that I have adopted, picking up after these errant polluters for a long time to come.
Peter Andrew McTiernan lives in Barryville, NY.
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