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Litter bugs really bug mePosted Friday, November 13, 2009, at 3:15 PM
There's not really a polite or politically-correct way to say it, so here it is -- plain and simple.
Some people don't have any pride when it comes to the place they live and call home.
When I say that, I'm not talking about people who don't take care of their yards and let grass and weeds grow knee high and fill their yards with a variety of jacked-up cars, broken down trucks or just plain old junk and debris.
I'm talking about people who don't have a sense of ownership and pride when it comes to roadside litter or trash.
To them it's just easier to toss all those things out the window of moving vehicles like: Fast food wrappers, Styrofoam containers, paper bags, soda or beer cans and bottles and plastic bags from your favorite store.
Do they think that kind of stuff is just going to melt away or magically vaporize?
No, someone eventually has to pick it up.
I was talking with my friend, Erek Wilson, who's the supervisor of the Greene County Solid Waste Management District, the other day and he reminded me of this problem.
During the recent county-wide roadside clean up day Oct. 24, Wilson said the huge amount of trash hit home.
After a group of volunteers gave up a good portion of a Saturday to tromp up and down county and state roadways to pick up trash, the effort netted 150 of the 30-gallon trash bags of litter.
Wilson said that trash weighed out at 1 1/2 tons or 3,000 pounds.
Just the other evening, I drove through the drive-through at a fast food establishment in Linton. While waiting for my order, I noticed the car in front of me had just picked up their order.
From both windows, I saw sandwich wrapping papers fly out as the car wheeled onto a busy roadway. Apparently, those in this vehicle didn't have enough gumption or smarts than to just put the wrappers back in the bag and then dispose of the bag in a proper place.
You know that happens every day.
These folks should know that littering on both public and private property is against the law.
Indiana Code 35-45-3 covers littering.
"Chapter 3, Sec. 1 (A) A person who recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally places or leaves refuse on property of another person, except in a container provided for refuse, commits littering.
"(B) Refuse includes solid and semisolid wastes, dead animals, and offal."
"Sec. 2 (A) A person who recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally places or leaves refuse on property of another person, except in a container provided for refuse, commits littering, a Class B infraction.
"(B) Refuse includes solid and semisolid wastes, dead animals, and offal.
"(C) Evidence that littering was committed from a moving vehicle other than a public conveyance constitutes prima facie evidence that it was committed by the operator of that vehicle."
While I'm ranting, I often see people tossing out burning cigarettes from vehicles. That also is against the law and is a Class A infraction.
Indiana Code provides for fines of up to $1,000 for Class B infractions, and up to $5,000 for Class A infractions.
I would suggest a fitting sentence augmentation for littering would be some time on a road crew picking up trash in the rain or during the height of a bone-chilling southern Indiana winter day.
If you see someone littering, jot down their license plate number, and don't be bashful about turning them in to the authorities.
Call the sheriff's department (384-4411 or 911) or the Recycle Center (659-3788 or toll-free 1-800 281-1930).
While were on the subject, Erek reminded me that the Recycle Center pays for the adopt-a-road signs that are on the county roads and the county highway department puts the signs up.
Anyone or any organization that would like to help control the roadside litter problem, can volunteer to pick up trash along a designated portion of a roadway by contacting the Recycle Center.
The Indiana Department of Transportation has authority over the adopt-a-road program on state roadways.
INDOT's Adopt-A-Highway coordinator in the area can supply you or your group with safety training, vests, road work signs, and trash bags to help get the job done. In return, INDOT will place a sign on the portion of highway your group adopts for this worthwhile effort.
Contact the Linton Subdistrict office at 847-2245 for more information.
Nick is the assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or 1-800-947-4487 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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