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Don’t trash the Sauk Valley

Sauk Valley roadsides accumulated a lot of litter over the winter. As we praise roadside cleanup efforts, we urge litterbug drivers to end their trash-tossing ways.

Published: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

Trash talking is a way of life for people from sports stars to politicians.

Trash tossing is also a way of life for too many motorists and passengers.

Trash talking ranges from funny taunts to unpleasant rants.

Trash tossing creates unsightly messes along our roadways.

We’re no big fans of trash talking, but within reason, it is protected by freedom of speech.

However, we absolutely loathe trash tossing. No good reason exists for people who thoughtlessly throw cans, bottles, cups, fast-food bags, and wrappers out the windows of vehicles to land along the roadside.

Spring is when a winter’s worth of tossed trash becomes painfully evident. The accumulation speaks poorly of our society.

Sometime in the vast future, when archeologists excavate our roadsides, what will they conclude as they dig up discarded plastic, metal and glass? That our society was filled with careless individuals who cared nothing for the environment?

Two efforts continue toward cleaner roadways, both sponsored by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

1) The “Love the Land of Lincoln: Please Don’t Litter” campaign. Participation involves individuals pledging to be mindful of their own trash and to pick up trash when they see it.

2) Illinois Adopt-A-Highway Program. Groups and organizations can sign up to pick up litter on 2-mile stretches of roadsides at least four times a year for a 2-year period.

The anti-litter campaign involves minimal behavior modification. Hey, if you want to toss that trash somewhere, keep a wastebasket in the back seat, toss it back there, then put it in the garbage can at home.

Regarding Adopt-A-Highway, we salute the large participation in our region. The IDOT website lists more than five dozen groups in the five-county area that dispatch members to pick up roadside litter and dispose of it correctly.

While bending and stooping to pick up others’ trash, volunteers must be sorely tempted to trash talk the litterbugs who dumped it there.

We hope the message finally gets through, for Earth Day and beyond, that trash tossing is unacceptable. Don’t do it.

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