By: Leigh Patterson
It is an understatement to say that the state of our nation, and our world, is indescribably chaotic and unstable right now. Most of us feel as if we have no control over what is happening around us. It also seems as though we are frantically treading water and trying to keep our heads above the surface. Even with all the chaos surrounding us, we still have a responsibility to do our part to try and make this world a better place.
My family and I traveled between Christmas and New Year’s a few weeks ago. One of the things that I noticed in most every place that we stopped, including restaurant parking lots, hotel parking lots, and in the streets and gutters, were face masks that had been littered. I found that there were both cloth and disposable masks lying around. I have to admit, this made me both sad and angry. I understand that some of these masks were dropped accidentally or unknowingly, but some were most likely not. In some places, I saw more masks littered than all other types of litter combined! Whether dropped by accident or thrown down on purpose, this is all considered litter, and this behavior has to stop.
Athens and Limestone County are not immune to this. There are masks lying around here just as they are in other cities and towns. We all need to do better! I get it, sometimes our arms are full of many things and a mask can easily be dropped out of our hands or may accidentally fall out when we open our car doors. If this happens to you, please PICK IT UP! Be responsible for your own items! Don’t just leave things on the ground where they will cause harm to our environment.
Litter of any kind if not disposed of properly can be washed into storm drains, streams, creeks, rivers, and eventually our oceans. Wind carries litter, sometimes great distances. Litter is harmful to wildlife. It can choke or entangle animals, birds, and fish. We are asked to be good stewards of this beautiful world that God has created for us. Littering is one example of how people are abusing this task that we have been charged with.
I encourage you to carry a small trash bag and rubber gloves with you so that if you do happen to drop something (or see something that needs picking up), you have a sanitary way to pick it up (gloves) and somewhere to place it until you can get to a trash receptacle. KALB has washable reusable litter bags for your car, and we would love to provide you with one! Call or drop by our office and we will be happy to give one to you.
Let’s face it, this global pandemic is a big lemon in all of our lives. Masks and other personal protective equipment are currently a part of daily life in current times. Let’s not make things worse by improperly disposing of these items that we are all encouraged to use right now. These items are for our own personal protection, but if we toss them out carelessly, we are not protecting the world around us that we have been charged to care for. By focusing on doing a better job caring for both our own health and the health of the environment around us, just maybe we can make a little lemonade out of this big ole lemon!
By: Leigh Patterson
Executive Coordinator – Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful