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That Burns My Biscuits!

By E.J. SMITHS
Last week we looked at what it means to be a Proud Appalachian American. One thing included was that we love our mountains and want to share their beauty with the many visitors that pass this way each year. Well, well, well, some of us are just not getting the message. We still see litter along roads and we keep finding illegal dumpsites. The people who work so hard to get our picturesque county clean and keep it that way are growing weary of dealing with you, so from now on, when I see you litter, I will report you. If you, the litterbug, do not know by now with everything in the media and local news about litter, then we will assume there is no civic duty or empathy for others in your make up and need the law to help you see the importance of you refraining from tossing trash out your car window. It is a car window, not a trash receptacle.
You need a remedy for your littering problem? Keep a trash bag in your car. How hard is that one? Next, stop and think about what you are doing, not only littering, but polluting the environment as well.
If you still don’t care, think about your grandchildren. You do want them to have a beautiful, clean world to live and thrive in, don’t you? I do and I am trying to do my part by several small things I do each time I take a walk. Take a grocery bag and a pair of gloves and pick up trash along the way. If other walkers see you doing this, they may be influenced not to litter. Or not. Truth is, we cannot be responsible for others’ behavior, but we can be a good example and hope for the best.
Our county leadership needs to take this problem more seriously and deal with it in appropriate ways. Some may feel that incarceration is a tough sentence for littering and why waste taxpayers money using jail residents? The county has to house and feed them. Here’s an idea: when someone is charged with littering, so don’t jail them, put them to work right then and there picking up trash, not just their own, but lots of it! Restitution works! After the stuff is picked up, send them home.
I received a copy of a letter to the editor from Mr. Jordan, the director of Keep Carter County Beautiful. He shares my opinion that our leadership needs to toughen up on people who start and continue to use dumpsites. The sites need to be reported as soon as someone notices them, to nip them in the bud so to speak, and stop them immediately. I hiked to the Blue Hole two summers ago just after Keep Carter County Clean had cleaned up the parking area and trail. People already had thrown trash on the ground. Who does one get mad at? Where did you, (litterbug) go? Come here so I can slap you!
Volunteers are wonderful people, and they are the ones who pick up your trash. Don’t work them to death by keeping this horrible habit of littering. Please leave time for them to volunteer other places where they are needed. You are needed too and when you get your fines paid and your time served, you may decide to become a volunteer too!
Last, do not assume that someone else will pick up that trash or report those dumps. Just do it! It may not be your garbage, but is your children’s world. Let’s leave them a town and surrounding area that they can be proud of. Let’s continue to be Proud Appalachian Americans!
You are in my prayers,
E.J.