Recent letters encouraging walkers and cyclists to pick up trash as they enjoy the outdoors were right on in their message. Individuals can have a significant impact on improving the look of our surroundings. Maybe we can't carry a large bag with us everywhere we go; maybe we can't even carry a smaller bag. But we can all stop and pick up at least one or two pieces of litter and deposit them in a nearby trash can. Even this will eventually make a big impact on the look of our communities.
More important, we really need people to stop throwing trash on public spaces in the first place. People who toss garbage out onto the roadways and streets are generally pretty thoughtless and very self-absorbed sorts, so I am not sure how well they would respond to a generous message of community spirit. But we need to work to encourage everyone to keep their own trash in their cars and pockets, at least until they get to a nearby public trash barrel.
One other thing we can do is band together with our neighbors and friends and adopt a road.
The Atlantic County Utilities Authority operates the Clean Communities Program, which helps people form teams to select a section of county roadway and keep it clean. Groups (which can be as small as one person but typically involve a family, business, service club or even sports team) commit to conducting at least four cleanups per year. These typically take only a couple of hours, and the cleaner the road becomes, the less time it takes.
The Hammonton Green Committee has sponsored a section of a county road for a couple of years, and its members find that the trash becomes easier and easier to eliminate during the outings. The Hammonton Lions Club also sponsors a busy county thoroughfare, and the road has never looked better.
I encourage everyone to get in touch with the ACUA today (www.acua.com or 609-272-6950) and get involved.
DANIEL T. BACHALIS