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Pick Up Roadside Litter

April 6, 2019 GMT

Editor: Roadside litter and illegal dumpsites in Northeast Pennsylvania do more than spoil the scenery. Those old rubber tires, electronic castoffs and other trash can potentially harbor disease-bearing insects and rodents, as well as slowly leach harmful materials into our soil and streams. The unsightly junk also negatively impacts people’s perceptions of this place, which some observers suggest might even discourage tourism and visitor dollars from entering the local economy. The answer — at least in the short term — is simple: Pick it up. Grab a garbage bag, pull on a pair of work gloves and join one of the all-volunteer efforts taking place this spring in Luzerne County to beautify our landscape. To find a cleanup planned near your home, visit this Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful-related site: gacofpa.org. A quick check of this site indicates that volunteers intend to pluck trash from, among many other places, parts of Mountain Top and Edwardsville (April 13), Nesbitt Park in Wilkes-Barre (April 20) and Pittston (April 22). The city of Wilkes-Barre’s coordinated cleanup is scheduled for May 18, according to the site. Removing discarded plastic bottles, fast-food containers and other debris from our public spaces isn’t a glamorous activity. But it remains a necessary one each spring, a seasonal task not unlike turning over the dirt to prepare gardens for planting or washing road salt from our vehicles. In the long term, a better solution to our region’s trash troubles might be found. People might propose, for instance, strengthening the enforcement of existing illegal dumping laws or, maybe, banning plastic bags — as New York appears poised to do. Until then, why not join with other caring people who are bothered by litter and simply pick it up? M.E. Jones KINGSTON