Careless littering can be stopped

Published 10:39 pm Friday, October 12, 2012

By: Norm Trotter

Something that someone doesn’t want? Something that someone doesn’t need? How does something become litter? What is litter? Anything that ends up on our streets and sidewalks that should not be there is litter.

I think if you ask most folks if they litter the answer would be a resounding “no.” So how does litter manage to so abundantly populate the streets and sidewalks of our otherwise beautiful city of Selma? Well a lot of litter is due to each of us carelessly managing our daily lives. A lot of litter though is blatant disregard for our community and our fellow neighbor.

Email newsletter signup

If we are reading the newspaper or our mail on the front porch and we carelessly lay aside an envelope or the wrapper the paper arrived in or let drop a paper insert that we aren’t really interested in … we may be on the verge of littering without the intention of doing so. A nice breeze comes up and blows whatever had fallen on the porch floor and the next thing you know we have pieces of paper blowing down the street as litter.

What about those candy wrappers or tissues that end up on the floorboard of our car and when we get out of the car to pay our power bill the wrappers and tissues fall out of the door and become litter? What about all the cans and items that get thrown in the back of pickup trucks under the guise of not littering by not throwing something directly out of a vehicle but as the truck is driven along the streets and highways the rush of wind invariably picks up items from the truck bed and tosses them out as litter? These are all inadvertent litter sources.

A lot of litter though is blatant disregard for our community and our fellow neighbor. Some pull up to a stop sign or traffic light, and after carefully making sure no one is watching, down comes the window and whatever they want to purge from their vehicle becomes litter or just as bad they purge the vehicle even if the intersection is full of folks. These are the same folks who will dump whatever from the window while driving down the street or road and it becomes litter.

Well, what can we or more specifically can you do? Well each of us can be more careful to help not create litter.

If we see someone littering, make them aware of what they are doing. Each of us can make a difference. In addition, if you see litter anywhere, pick it up now. It doesn’t make any difference if it’s the store or work parking lot and you didn’t throw it down it is litter … pick it up now. At that point it doesn’t make any difference how it got there only that it is there as litter.

We each can make a difference, my neighbor Stephen Brooks and I have been picking up litter in a multiple block area where we walk in Old Town. We don’t ask who put it there, we pick it up.

Six days a week we walk and pick up litter that amounts to a plastic grocery sack full of litter each.

Recently, I collected a weeks worth of litter and saved it until a Saturday morning, when I spread it out on my patio to take pictures. It was amazing and as the saying goes a picture is worth a thousand words. I’ve shown the pictures to friends and they cannot believe these items were on our streets.

You can make a difference too. Just pick it up and properly dispose of it. I assure you visitors to our city take note of litter as they travel about. It either makes a good impression or a bad one.

One small step for man. One giant leap for beautification. You will make a difference.