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Roadside Garbage Cleanup [Eco-Green
Posted on April 27, 2016 @ 11:10:00 AM by Paul Meagher

One way to express your love of nature is by going for a walk in it or a taking a picture of it. Another way is to pick up garbage that accumulates there. Usually, I'm walking or taking pictures but today I decided it was time to express my love in a different way, by picking up roadside garbage along a riverside route where I often walk and take pictures.

In the early springtime around here you can easily see the garbage in the woods beside the road. It is a good time to pick up garbage. In a few more weeks the roadside will start to get grown in with abundant emerging life.

On the radio the other day a fellow expressed his deep disappointment in the litter along the highway and how disrespectful that is to the earth and to our civic responsibilities. Although I respected his message, his hectoring tone was a turn off to me; as if we were a bunch of kids that didn't know how to clean up after ourselves. He felt righteous because he was part of a corporate group that was picking up roadside garbage and thought by expressing his disappointment in the citizenry the littering would slow down.

You can also pick up garbage for some fairly self-interested reasons. I walk this area frequently and don't like seeing the garbage so if I pick up the garbage I can solve that problem myself. I will probably enjoy my future walks more and feel I did something a bit more substantial than take pictures and go for walks to express my love of nature.

It was a cool and sunny morning. There were no mosquitoes to deal with and it was a good exercise replacement for the time I might have taken for a morning walk. I was not used to the amount of bending I had to do and my back told me it was time to stop (for now). It is fairly rewarding work as it doesn't take long to fill up a normal household garbage bag. I filled 6 of them in an hour and a half.

Picking up garbage tells you something about the world we live it that you might not really appreciate any other way. I encountered lots of Coke and Pepsi containers of various sorts, beer bottles and cans, beer cases, diapers, coffee cups, cigarette packages, plastic bags, chip bags, shoes, fast food wrappers, tires, ashphalt shingles, car parts, and more. Cleaning up roadside garbage is an example of an externality that companies like Pepsi, Coke, Pampers, beer companies, chip companies, and more don't account for in their expense column. We all know what type of garbage is most prevalent in our communities (if not, perhaps it would be good to do some accounting on it) but we generally don't see the companies who are in part responsible paying any money to address the issue. Do they have a duty to fund community cleanups if we encounter a large amount of their garbage in our communities? Of course, the person who decided to litter is responsible, but Coke and Pepsi should arguably include an assumed background rate of littering into their expense column and help take care of the roadside mess they are helping to create.

In truth, I don't really care that much if Coke or Pepsi decide to carry their share of the burden. Just a thought I had when I kept encountering the same types of garbage. What motivates me is keeping an area of manageable size clear of some garbage so that I can enjoy nature there more. I decided I wouldn't be a bystander waiting for the county or someone else to address the issue because it wasn't going to be addressed judging by the age of some of the garbage I picked up.

Picking up roadside garbage can be addictive if you decide to actively express your love for a piece of nature in that manner. It can be an investment into your own future enjoyment and the enjoyment of others.

You might also encounter interesting wildlife in a roadside garbage pickup such as this school of young trout I encountered today. They are living in an offshoot from the river next to the road where the water is calm and they have some protection in the submerged leaves, grasses, and stream bank.




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