Make America Clean Again

Dear Editor:

CARLINVILLE (June 28, 2018) – Carlinville has been my hometown for the past 17+ years. During that time, I’ve had the opportunity to go for long walks with my husband on many town streets and the surrounding country roads to get in our daily steps.

The seasons afford lovely changes to the landscape during our walks, but one thing that remains constant on any of the roads, despite the change in weather is litter! Several concerned citizens attempting to address this problem over the years have written letters to this paper, but I’d like to call your readers’ attention to the problem of littering once again.

In its June 2018 cover story, National Geographic highlighted the problem of plastic- how this miracle material that is used in almost every human being’s daily life- is infiltrating our oceans and waterways, harming marine wildlife, and getting into our food chain. Readers of the article may make the false assumption that this is a “third-world” country problem, yet every time I go for a walk on any road in town, I see plastic bottles, aluminum cans, candy wrappers, and paper cups with plastic lids and straws strewn on the curbs and walkways. Most of this material is recyclable, yet if it is carelessly tossed out a car window, where will the garbage eventually end up? In our waterways!

Although my husband and I usually carry bags and gloves to pick up litter while we’re walking, we typically fill both bags before we complete our 30-minute round trip journey along Carlinville roads. This problem will not go away unless we raise awareness- especially among children.

In the 1960s, there was a national campaign: “Keep America Beautiful.” We learned it in our schools, we heard television jingles: “Clean up, fix up. It’s up to you!” Now, despite the use of disposable containers for everything from fast food and beverages to microwave meals, there seems to be little to no effort to encourage those who benefit from the portability of disposable items to dispose of them properly- or recycle them!

Please let’s all focus on Making America Clean Again – by starting in our hometown of Carlinville by educating children and youth, posting signs, and making trash receptacles more accessible on our streets. It’s truly up to us!

Thank you,

Terri Reid,