Letters to the editor: Crap on our roadsides

To the editor:

To China residents, and everyone else. When China Selectman Irene Belanger’s article, recruiting town folk to volunteer to pick up trash along our roadsides in honor of Earth Day appeared in The Town Line several weeks ago, my wife Nan and I were excited. Accordingly yesterday, Saturday April 21, we headed to our rendezvous point, not knowing I’d messed up the timing; there was no one at the South China Community Church at 9 a.m. Not giving up, we drove up to the transfer station, got some trash bags and headed out. We decided to cover a stretch of the Alder Park Road from the entrance to the station down toward Lake View Drive, and ended up doing both sides between there and the house with the white picket fence – about three-eighths to one-quarter mile by my estimate. The results of this search were, literally, staggering.

In this distance, we filled two of those massive trash bags to the point where I could barely lift them into the back of our Ford Escape. The variety of garbage was incredible. We got broken bottles (almost exclusively Bud Light), crushed cans, cardboard, cigarette packs, plastic bags, styrofoam packing “peanuts” and food containers, milk jugs, “nip” bottles and interestingly, an exposed roll of 35 mm film; I wonder how long that had been there? Personally, I also disrupted a number of earthworm housewarmings as I extracted crap from the mud and wetland areas. And possibly most disturbing, was the huge amount of fast food residue. I don’t believe there are any McDonald’s or Wendy’s in town, although Dunkin’ Donuts was well represented. Fortunately, I guess, we found only one, capped, injection needle and no used diapers. So all of this again raises the question, “how can any human with a grain of intelligence and concern for our environment discard waste in this fashion?”

If you’re a regular reader of this publication, you may recall several of my previous letters about roadside trash from the perspective of being an enthusiastic bike rider who, thus, sees a lot of it as I tool about our local towns. Already this year, the Weeks Mills Rd., Rte. 3, the Dirigo Road and many sections of Rte. 32 are infested with junk. If you want some exercise and weight training, grab a couple of trash bags and take a walk in almost any direction. And, of course, this is not just true here in central Maine; it is a world-wide issue with very few exceptions. Something must be done to limit and deal with waste in all forms before we as a planet are totally destroyed by this “plague.”

I know, change can be hard – just ask my wife about me. But for the local situation I addressed above, a few additions or alterations can be easy as well. Keep a bag of some sort in your car for any waste you generate while driving. Keep your hands inside the vehicle when handling that stuff. When you get home, place the junk in your trusty waste basket or trash bin. For home owners. or anyone else really, police the roadside as you move around outside. It really isn’t that hard to be environmentally friendly and I hope you’ll feel better about yourself as well. If folks follow these simple suggestions, maybe the turnout for Irene’s request next April will see a marked reduction in the amount of waste they have to pick up. I’ve gotta think positively!

Bob Bennett
South China


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