Editorial: It’s time to stop littering along our roads
It’s 2019, and people are still tossing trash out their windows onto the roads.
This has been an ongoing issue for several years in Charles City and New Kent. But now it seems to be at an all-time part of being downright ridiculous.
To give you a perspective where I am coming from, last month (December 2018) at Charles City County’s Board of Supervisors meeting, County Administrator Michelle Johnson asked VDOT representatives if they could pick up the trash alongside Barnetts Road from Roxbury Road (Route 106) to the railroad tracks. After they successfully did so, a few days later more trash accumulated alongside the road.
The story doesn’t end there. Two weeks ago, Chronicle reporter Robb Johnson snapped some photos (see above) of trash that was alongside Route 106 at the bridge connecting Charles City and New Kent. As you can see, the place was a mess and that can be greatly considered an understatement. More than likely, this amount of garbage could have been the result of trucks heading to the Charles City landfill. Still, there was no responsibility of who did it and who would clean up the mess.
The amount of litter on roads continue to grow. I am concerned that some people simply just don’t care anymore about the environment. Despite threats of fines for the offense, people are going to continue to do it because there haven’t been any true repercussions of tossing a bag or cup out the window.
Let’s get a clearer understanding of a few things. Sheriff’s departments in both Charles City and New Kent can’t allocate their resources to watch people always toss trash out the window. It’s just not feasible. Next, inquiries have been made about inmate crews picking up litter as part of their sentencing to have the opportunities to reduce their sentence. As it has been stated in both court rooms and by sheriff representatives at open meetings: 1- You can’t make inmates go out and pick up the litter. 2- Those who do pick up litter are restricted to certain places to maintain safety of the community (i.e. major highways and away from populated areas such as schools, churches, etc.).
When it comes to litter control, it is the individual responsibility in the vehicle. With me, I manage to keep a small bag in my car to collect trash before disposing it into a larger receptacle. It only takes a little patience to keep the inside of a car clean before making that transfer. Second, if you’re heading to the dump and you have a tarp, use it. Sure, it will take you a couple of minutes to tie it down, but it will keep the garbage off the road to make our area look beautiful.
To the people that walk the roads and collect the garbage (whether it’s for employment or volunteering), thank you for the assistance that you provide. Our areas shouldn’t be covered with litter as it only serves as a perception of where we live and how we live. We don’t all have to be enthusiastic environmentalists to make a difference, but we can all do our part and keep our area clean by being patient for just a few extra moments.