To the editor:
On Saturday and Sunday September 15 and 16, with the encouragement of Richard Dillenbeck and along with other China residents, I and a “team” of three other members participated in an organized trash pick-up along Lakeview Drive. Our group consisted of myself and my wife Nan, and Mary Benziger and Donna Loveland. Together, we policed, to use the military term, the portion of Lakeview from the Route 3 intersection to the China Diner. As a result of this activity, I have a number of comments.
First, over the two days, we picked up about seventy-five (75) pounds of trash and returnable bottles. One of those bottles, by the way, contained a needle; no one was injured. This is over a length of highway about a mile and a half, from both sides. And, as I have told many people, this year seems to be better than most, having observed much of Lakeview close-up while riding my bike. One of the most disturbing facts about this debris was the number of nip bottles and beer cans. There are obviously some very impaired drivers along our roads; just what we need with distracted driving. Also, even though all four of us were wearing fluorescent clothing to show up better, few if any drivers slowed down at all as they passed us. This included dump trucks and tractor trailers that gave us a good breeze.
The other thing that became very obvious as we moved about was the simple fact that this is not really an activity that is suitable for older folks. While all four of us are in very good physical condition, relative to our age, we are “getting along in years.” Granted, our timing could have been better; we started on Saturday after noon, and it was hot and humid. On Sunday, three of us, my wife not included because of some physical issues left over from the day before, got started earlier and finished the job. My point is this. We very likely will not participate in this very worthwhile activity again due to the potential toll on our bodies. It is physically challenging, what with the climbing over guard rails, wading through potentially tick-bearing grasses and climbing up and down hillsides along the roadside. Other community members need to pick up the ball.
We all want to leave a positive legacy for those who come after us. Having and sharing a positive and constructive view of the way we deal with our environment is one of the best ways to start that process. It would be wonderful to see families, school groups, youth organizations and any younger citizens outside helping to undo the damage caused by the, hopefully, small percentage of our population that drinks and drives and stupidly throws trash out of their car windows as they move along our roadways. Safety is obviously a prime concern when venturing out into this kind of activity and care must be exercised. However, our world’s environment is balancing today on a very risky tightrope and it needs to be protected in any way possible.
In conclusion, I admire Mr. Dillenbeck’s devotion to this cause and I’m glad that Nan and I and others were able to contribute to its success. However, this wasn’t a “one shot” deal and others need to step up to further the cause. Thanks in advance.
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