• 72°

Stop trashing our roadways and waterways

Spring is fast approaching. The trees are budding and the jonquils and hyacinths are blooming. As we look around at the signs of spring, we see another sight — not so pretty… the trashing of our roadways and waterways.
It’s absurd that we need to tell the people who live and work here to stop trashing. In any direction you look, you will see discarded cans, drink cups, straws, food wrappers, plastic bags, etc. Those who live here should want our communities to be clean and beautiful. It’s our home, after all.
Yes, it’s easy to see alongside our roadways, in open spaces and alleyways, in our waterways and parking lots, that too many people don’t seem to take that message to heart. Litter is everywhere — and there seems to be more of it during this pandemic.
We’ve always had residents who could care less about where their trash goes. Plenty of people have aggravating stories, such as garbage in their yards or on the sidewalk or street in front of their home. There are people who toss their beverage cups just anywhere rather than putting them in a garbage container. Plastic bags, food wrappers and bags can be found in parking lots. If you own a business, you need to pick up your garbage and dispose of it daily.
Seemingly, every ditch, every roadside, every sidewalk and stream, and even the landscape is littered with…well…litter.
Maybe when faced with a pandemic, some folks decided that pitching their discarded fast-food sack, wrapper, or cup in a dumpster wasn’t as vital as it once seemed. There appears to be a certain devil-may-care attitude in Elizabethton and Carter County when it comes to littering.
We live in a beautiful community, especially during the springtime. Mowing season is fast approaching, and folks will be out working in their yards. They probably will be picking up garbage, too, which has been tossed in their yard. We’d say those responsible should be ashamed of themselves, but one wonders if that’s possible given this shameless display.
For a region dependent on visitors, that’s not a good look — figuratively and literally.
Nobody should need reminding that so much of what’s discarded is harmful to the environment and dangerous to wildlife. We’ve all seen photos of fish and birds and wild geese ensnared by six-pack rings.
There is much we can do to curb the problem. Begin with the simple: Stop littering. No more tossing a cigarette butt out the window or leaving that soda cup in the back of your truck. Call out bad behavior and set a good example for others.
Next, be a part of the solution. Bring a bag when you’re on a neighborhood walk and pick up what you can. Volunteer with any of the litter clean-up groups or, heck, organize your friends and neighbors to keep your part of Elizabethton clean and tidy.
Add government to the mix. Officials can encourage enforcement of existing litter laws and hold those responsible to account for their thoughtless behavior. Invest in citywide clean-ups and a marketing campaign that we won’t stand for this anymore.
We all have to do better if we’re going to have a community to be proud of.