Editorial: Litterers just don't care
What is it that makes some people think it’s OK to throw empty soda cans or candy wrappers from a moving car, stomp out a cigarette on a city sidewalk or drive out into the woods and dump old tires and car batteries into a drinking water reservoir?
This isn’t the 1950s when such abhorrent behavior could almost be excused due to a collective ignorance. This is the 21st century, when anyone who isn’t suffering from a severe case of denial understands the negative impact humans have on the planet and the devastating consequences that result from treating the environment with such disrespect.
But despite that knowledge, too many selfish, disgusting louts continue to spread their filth around as if nature were their own personal landfill, leaving others to repair the damage they cause.
That reality was displayed in living color recently near the Copicut Reservoir in Fall River, Mass.
Martin and Sara Riley moved to the area three years ago, buying their dream house in the woods overlooking the reservoir. While walking their dogs through the forest, the Rileys began to notice trash piling up along the water. Dismayed, they decided to do something about it, organizing the Copicut cleanup and planning to make it an annual event, the second installment of which occurred last Sunday.
No one would have guessed just how extensive the problem is. Litter is not a strong enough word to describe the disgusting mess 55 volunteers pulled out of the reservoir: many heaping bags of trash; 150 tires; several car batteries; and not one, but two, large propane tanks.
One really has to wonder about the intellect of those who would take the time to drive out into the woods to throw away junk they could have easily disposed of properly. The reservoir is the backup water supply for the entire region. Is the minimal savings from avoiding the landfill really worth the possibility of poisoning yourself and all your neighbors, not to mention harming wildlife and destroying the pristine beauty of an area that helps raise everyone’s quality of life?
Unfortunately, too many people are clearly incapable of policing themselves.
It is truly frightening how wide the disparity is becoming between those who recognize the damage humans cause the environment and minimize their impact for the good of their fellow man, and those who just don’t seem to care. Are these people who think it’s OK to trash nature buying reusable bags to limit paper and plastic at the supermarket? Driving fuel efficient vehicles? Turning down the thermostat to conserve energy and cut greenhouse gas emissions? One would tend to doubt it, making those who actually care about other people wonder whether their efforts are even worthwhile.
Fortunately, there are people like Martin and Sara Riley and the 55 volunteers who turned out last Sunday to remind us all that there are people who care enough to make a difference.
“We can inspire people who visit our neighborhood if we show people how committed we are to its care,” Sara Riley said. “Though it seems to be an endless problem, we stand for the possibility of changing the collective thinking in our community.”
It seems they are fighting an uphill battle, but it is one that must be fought. The alternative is allowing those who insist on trashing the planet to win.
The Herald News