Monday, August 30, 2010

Trash Tirade

I'm on a trash tirade this morning. At the Park Board meeting this past week I was telling the other Park Board members that Lucy Park looked as bad as I have ever seen it just before Hotter 'n Hell weekend. There was trash everywhere.

I have been one of the proponents of increasing Lake Wichita shoreline access for fishing. But I was at Wild Bird Rescue Saturday and walked down to the shore on a break at the old boat launch where a father and son had just been fishing. The trash in that area (see photos above) makes me wonder about the wisdom of that work. I don't know that these two had anything to do with the mess on the shore, but the fishing line packages, fishing line and bait containers indicate some fisherman (or woman) left the mess there.

Littering is one of my "hot button" issues. It just really sets me off to see people leave a mess. Unfortunately, I don't often see people make a mess (which my husband says is a good thing as I have a tendency to say something about it), but obviously someone is leaving trash around. We should use a little peer pressure to encourage people to clean up after themselves. When we plan an event, trash pickup (and recycling) needs to be part of the planning process.

Littering is a crime. True, the fine isn't all that big, but money talks. When Park personnel have to be used to clean up trash, they can't mow or do other important maintenance work in our parks and along our trails. I would prefer to see the money that is now spent on trash pick up or graffitti clean up used to beautify more medians or spent on other needed improvements in our city, not cleaning up after people who have no respect for their neighbors.

So, what can we do?

  • Clean up after ourselves. If we bring it in, we need to take it out.
  • Clean up trash when we see it. I don't pick up all of the trash I see (I wouldn't get anywhere) but I try to pick up some trash and put it in the nearest trash container.
  • Apply peer pressure when we see others litter.
  • Participate in city cleanups.

Are you part of a group that would like to help keep Wichita Falls looking clean? The Rolling Plains Texas Master Naturalists clean up Plum Lake once a quarter and Sikes Lake every September. Jack Murphy (Park and Recreation Director for City of Wichita Falls) said he would be willing to work with volunteer groups that would be responsible for certain areas on a regular basis.

The first time the Master Naturalists did Plum Lake, it was a major job, but we can usually clean up the shoreline in less than 2 hours now that we do it on a regular basis.

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