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Bill Stancil: A bit of litter here, a bit of litter there

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Bill Stancil

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By Bill Stancil
The Billboard

Friday, July 28, 2017

I don’t like the word “trash.” It means dirty-nasty-unkempt-filthy, and it is a bad reflection on you and me, plus, it is downright disgusting and probably spreads disease.

Trash lays around for weeks and weeks in ditches alongside our dirt roads and highways, and in our creeks, rivers and lakes right here in the communities that we so proudly call home. Visitors to this area notice and it hurts our self-esteem. That’s why we need a “trash talk” once in awhile.

The Rocky Mount-Nash-Edgecombe area has a lot going for it, but I am pretty sure that litter is not on the list.

Littering is not always on purpose. Wind drafts from highway traffic blows paper and plastic items onto adjoining property. Sometimes trash, including tree limbs, blows off the bed of trucks. Sometimes, children and adults, too, toss things from car windows—cups, cans, cigarette butts and other trash, not realizing that it is an act of littering.

Littering on purpose is another matter. For instance, pulling onto a dirt road through the woods to dump trash is illegal, unless you have permission from that landowner.

Litter comes in small and big pieces, including small pieces of paper, cups, cans, bottles, all the way up to discarded furniture and appliances. For the larger stuff, city residents can have it picked up by the city. Smaller pieces of paper can be placed in a recycling container, to also be picked up by the city.

And the City of Rocky Mount is commended for beginning a litter removal program in March that hires needy workers and pays them to pick up litter on the city’s roadways.

Many times volunteers will be seen gathering up litter from the roadside and ditches to help keep our area clean. They deserve to be thanked for their efforts and their pride in our communities.

This past weekend, we saw West Mount Ruritan Club president Buck Pittman, aided by several young volunteers, cleaning up trash on West Mount Drive on one of the hottest days of the year. Hooray for them!

We also visited friends who live on the Rocky Mount Reservoir, and they were continuing the job of cleaning up their property at their waterfront, loading trash, along with tree limbs and logs that had also washed up, into a trailer. Its destination will end at a dumpster site.

Owners of property on the reservoir that is not part of city property, are responsible for keeping their property clean. It is very disgusting and hard work. A big basket of Kudos for them!

I don’t like the word “trash” to describe my Great Outdoors. I like the word “pristine” to describe mine. It is a beautiful word that means clean-peaceful-undisturbed-inviting-serene.

That’s the way our woods look when there are no pieces of litter filling it up. That’s the way our creeks, rivers, lakes and the Rocky Mount Reservoir looks when there is no litter floating in it.

Sometimes at our favorite fishing places, litter, including coffee cups, bait cups, sandwich wrappers, plastic bags and other items blow out of boats and off the banks and into the water.

We cannot disguise our trash by giving it a prettier name, such as “litter”. It is still trash and can be picked up and disposed of. There is something we can do to help with the problem of litter build-up here.

We can learn to respect the property of others and their efforts to keep their property litter-free. And we can make sure that our family members pitch in, too. We can teach our children not to throw trash of any kind from the car windows as we ride along the roads or from a boat if we are on the water. It is easy to carry a plastic bag in our vehicles for the disposal of any trash when we get back home.

If we smoke, put cigarette butts in the ashtray and empty them when we get to our destination. Every member of the family can have a hand in protecting our great outdoors that begins just outside our front doors and back doors.

Let’s all get out in it often and appreciate it more.

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