riving east on McDonough Road recently, a bag of trash either purposefully discarded or accidently lost from a passing vehicle rested on the shoulder in front of beautiful Flintwood Farms. The bag split and litter blemished the roadside, drawing attention from the gorgeous flower beds.
I’ll never understand why people throw litter from car windows as if the roadside is their trash can.
My deep disapproval comes honestly. When I was in high school, I got a summer job as a “pollution control specialist.”
And cigarette butts, as if the countryside is their ash tray. Bill Torpy in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote that littering is his “pet peeve,” too. He cited a 2009 national survey from the Keep America Beautiful folks that found 15 percent of Americans admitted they littered, compared to 50 percent in 1969. We’ve come a long way since those days, but we still litter.
The same survey showed an estimated 51 billion pieces of trash line the nation’s roads and highways at any given time.
My deep disapproval comes honestly. When I was in high school, I got a summer job as a “pollution control specialist.” Our county received a government grant that provided funds to employ twelve high school boys to clean up county roads. They gave us a bushel basket and an axe handle with a nail in the end of it and we walked up and down the roads controlling pollution. Actually, we picked up trash. Litter that inconsiderate people tossed and left behind.
We reported to the county prison camp every morning, sharpened our nails, filled up the ice chest, and jumped on the red prison bus with bars on the windows.
It was a great job. It paid a whopping $2 per hour–minimum wage. We reported to the county prison camp every morning, sharpened our nails, filled up the ice chest, and jumped on the red prison bus with bars on the windows. People stared at us as we rode around town, wondering what we did to deserve this.
You wouldn’t believe what we found. The usual paper, bags, bottles, soda and beer cans, and food wrappers. I recovered a slalom water ski and a pair of good blue jeans that fit. One day, after an overnight rain, I came upon a balled-up towel in the wet grass. I stuck my nail in it and tossed it onto the asphalt for the truck to pick up. It didn’t “thud” like a water-logged towel; it “ker-plunked.” I unwrapped it and inside was a .38 caliber pistol. I lost it to the sheriff’s department and never heard which crime I helped solve.
Before picking up trash became community service, I worked this job for two summers, learning to drive a dump truck with a manual shift, seeing snakes most everyday, and getting into our share of mischief that only high school boys enjoying the great outdoors could. One of our characters collected any snakes we found, threw them in a potato sack and carried them home. We rode around Baldwin County with a sack of snakes on our bus several times a week. We collected a dump truck load of trash every day.
After my experience in pollution control, I don’t care to see another piece of litter. Like our moms used to say, find a trash