Easy solution to litter problem

Published 4:59 pm Saturday, April 28, 2012

Litter is not the worst problem in our society today, although some environmentalists would beg to differ. Hunger, violence, diseases as yet unable to be cured and many other ills are testing the ingenuity of humans around the world who are trying to fix the problems.

But unlike all those other issues, the solution to litter is marvelously simple: Just don’t do it.

It’s so simple, in fact, that it’s almost unbelievable that litter actually exists. Does it really take that much more effort to carry an empty cup inside when you arrive at your destination than it does to roll down the window and toss it onto the street?

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Yet there are plenty of selfish people in the world who can’t seem to find the time or the energy to toss their trash into a trashcan. And some of those people, it seems, are right here in Suffolk — or at least passing through.

Fortunately for Suffolk, though, some people found the time and the energy on Friday to help pick up all that trash that others were too lazy to dispose of properly.

Volunteers at just two small areas in Suffolk — one group working on a mile-long stretch of Bennett’s Pasture Road and another cleaning up Shingle Creek — managed to fill dozens of bright orange trash bags and collect numerous tires when they participated in the Great American Cleanup.

A program of Keep America Beautiful, the Great American Cleanup provides a designated day for volunteers to help keep their communities beautiful, possibly inspiring people who wouldn’t ordinarily have volunteered to do so.

Judging from the amount of trash that was picked up, the event appeared to be a success. But — not to disparage the efforts of volunteers — it never should have been needed in the first place.

If everyone can simply learn to keep their trash in their car until they get to a trashcan, there would be no litter and no need for volunteers to pick it up. Then, volunteers could focus their efforts on fulfilling another need — something for which the solution isn’t quite so simple.