Picking Up Litter in Ohio

Now that the snow piles are (mostly) gone, I am back to picking up litter.  If you have been reading the blog for a while, you might recall that I pick up litter on a weekly basis when we are at Fort Frederica National Monument.  Picking up litter is a natural companion to my daily walks.

There is plenty of litter to pick up.  When I was a kid there was a commercial starring Iron Eyes Cody that profoundly affected my thinking on litter.  If you don’t remember the public service announcement with the crying Native American, you need to watch it here.  The voiceover at the end says “Some people have a deep, abiding respect for the natural beauty that was once this country.  And some people don’t.  People start pollution.  People can stop it.”  Seeing that commercial made me vow, as a preteen, to stop pollution wherever I can.  Consequently, Tom and I today try to have as small a carbon footprint as possible.

Part of that is picking up litter.  I am amazed at the amount of litter I can see along roads every day.  Tom and I live in a beautiful place surrounded by lakes, creeks, and parks.  Every day when I walk I see trash.  The most recent addition to this litter is masks that fall out of pockets.  At least I’m assuming they are left unintentionally.  The piles of dog poop on the trails are more intentional by careless owners who don’t pick up after their dogs.

The intersection of OH-3 and Lewis Center Road collects loads of trash.  One of the biggest things thrown there is tins of chewing tobacco.  It might be coming from the construction workers who are building a church addition on the property.  Or it might be someone who just throws out a tin every day as he or she drives by the spot.  But every day there is a fresh, empty tin.

I don’t understand why people do this.  Why don’t they take their trash home and throw it in the trashcan?  Is it really so much more difficult to keep it in the car until you get home?  I guess I have to fall back on the line from the commercial.  “Some people have a deep, abiding respect for the natural beauty that was once this country.  And some people don’t.”

As someone who has a deep, abiding respect for natural beauty, I will continue picking up litter wherever I go.  Maybe someday people will have more respect for the natural world and learn to stop littering.