My husband, Sean, and I have been hiking different trails both for exercise and to appreciate the special beauty of Maine and its coast. While we love the spectacular rocks, the crashing waves, the smell of the fir trees and the lovely spring weather we’ve been having, we are disheartened by how much trash we see.
Much of the trash on the beaches seems to have been washed up on shore. Little piles of unsightly trash form where the tides crest. Among these piles are a lot of lobster trap parts and buoys, though we do see the occasional water bottle or snack wrapping.
People obviously throw trash out their car windows on the roads. A lot of what we see are coffee and soda cups, though all kinds of trash litters the roadsides.
It’s embarrassing. We tell everyone how beautiful Maine is and yet we must cringe whenever we see the litter.
This issue is not unique to Maine. We saw quite a bit of litter along the roads when we lived in Pennsylvania. I suppose littering happens everywhere.
I don’t understand the littering mentality. How much effort does it take to bring your trash home and throw it away there? Many fast food restaurants will allow you to use their trash cans. And, many gas stations have trash cans situated near all the pumps, making it easy to keep the inside of your car clean without dirtying the rest of your surroundings.
The Town of Steuben is trying to do something about the litter on its roadsides. At the annual meeting in March, residents voted to spend $750 to put up signs like the one shown in the photo below and to send letters home with school children asking parents not to throw trash out the car window and to keep their property frontage clean of debris.
It’s a small investment but a commendable one. I don’t yet know how much of a difference it will make but I’m glad to know others see the need to try to curb littering. I hope this small campaign can make a difference in Steuben and then, to the surrounding areas as well. If we all throw our trash out properly, we can enhance the beauty of our community.
Happy Earth Day!