Change the world: Stop littering

Published 10:19 pm Wednesday, September 30, 2015

By Chris A. Quilpa

It’s fall — time to enjoy mild weather, autumn colors and harvest, especially the abundant apples and pumpkins.

As the sun rises many mornings, we see fog blanketing the farms and the grassy, misty playgrounds. Light sweaters are now in vogue. Flipflops and shorts are being put away. Windows are open to let the fresh, mild air into our houses.

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Some leaves are starting to change their colors, and others have fallen to the ground.

To bicyclists, joggers, strollers and walkers, like me and my 5-month-old puppy Simba, fall is an opportunity to get physically fit, reaping the benefits of doing so outside, as long as it’s not raining.

But some folks — the litterbugs — seem to take things for granted. They don’t have any concern for others who suffer at the hands of their carelessness and irresponsibility.

I’ve encountered smokers tossing out cigarette butts while driving, dog owners intentionally leaving their dog’s poop on the ground, bikers and joggers spitting or blowing their noses and leaving unsanitary stains on the ground and folks leaving their sandwich or candy wrappers and pop soda cans or bottles all over the place.

Lit cigarette butts present a danger to the environment. We’re all aware of the wildfires in California lately that have destroyed and burned hundreds of homes and properties. If we tolerate this kind of behavior, one day we will regret it, and it will be too late when there’s a conflagration threatening residential areas due to carelessly tossed cigarette butts.

Dog poop left on the ground poses a threat to one’s health, including that of other dogs. Yet some folks are completely unprepared or unwilling to clean up after their dogs. This problem can endanger other people and even dogs because it can spread germs and disease. And who wants to unknowingly step into that poop?

The same thing is true of phlegm or mucus. They’re nasty to look at on the ground and even nastier to step on. What if you have symptoms of tuberculosis or some other disease related to lungs? You could infect others.

It’s an eyesore to see litter everywhere, especially aluminum cans, plastic or bottles or broken glass pieces left lying on the ground. Why can’t people take advantage of the trash cans available along sidewalks and in parks?

Be proactive. Be responsible residents of Suffolk. Stop littering and observe cleanliness. Be an agent of change and reform.

A rubber bracelet I received during the recent Fun ‘N’ Food Fest at Church of St. Therese, in Chesapeake, our former parish, had this inspirational quote on it: “Change the World. Matthew 25:35.”

Chris A. Quilpa, a retired U.S. Navy veteran, lives in Suffolk. Email him at