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Letter to the editor: Roadside garbage taking money out of our pockets

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Posted on June 11, 2018 |
By Margaret Eaton



It is coming up on one month since Green Up Day. On that day, three of us pulled 14 bags of trash out of the ditches on a New Haven road just 2.5 miles long. 

For people who do not know, Green Up Day bags are the size of large trash bags. Today, I walked that same road and was dismayed to see a re-accumulation of the same beer cans, cigarette packs, fast food containers, plastic, etc.

Dismay is too mild a word — it was more like disgust. I wonder  what will make people stop from polluting this way. I doubt that they care whether I am disgusted with them or that they spoiled my walk on this pretty road. I also doubt that they care that I, along with probably hundreds of other Green Up volunteers that day, cursed them each time we slogged into a ditch and pulled one nasty piece of garbage after another up from the muck.

The reason I don’t think they care is that the disregard that these people display when they pollute probably carries over to an indifference to the fact that they are being cursed by hundreds of people.

So what to do? There are carrots and sticks used to change behavior. On the carrot side of approaches, think about this: Vermont’s economy depends on tourism. Vermont has a reputation of being this pristine farm, woodland, and mountain state. But tourists who see this accumulation of trash along the roads can rightly form an opinion that too many Vermonters are lazy polluters who sully the landscape. If that becomes our reputation, tourists will find some other  place to go. That hurts all of us in the state because tourist money is fundamental here. So it’s in the best interest of all Vermonters to help our State maintain its reputation as a rural picturesque place.

So, even if you do not care that you are creating an unsightly mess, clogging the  drainage ditches, and causing environmental harm, think about your own pocketbook. And please, dispose of your trash properly. Keep a trash receptacle in your vehicle and place the contents in the trash or recycle bin when you get home.

Sisyphus (Margaret Eaton)

New Haven

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