One Bag At a Time

People are always saying that there is too much garbage and trash on the roads, in the park, sidewalks, etc. Some act on this and get friends together to do a town, or area, cleanup in and if they can’t get a few people together, really dedicated people do the cleanup alone. I am in that boat – well, bike – at the moment. The reason I can’t say in the same boat is because I’m a biker.

Recently, I started biking around with a garbage bag because I am tired of seeing all this trash in the world. It’s pretty clear that people aren’t doing much about it, so as a concerned, sustainable, citizen, I have started a new initiative – to collect as much trash as I can every day – and I hope that it will be followed by many others.

The change from trasher to picker-upper may take awhile. After all, it has taken me two years just to get more people to follow my example and bike to college. When I started at Bergen Community there were only a handful of bikers, now there are 12-14. I hope that the trash collection idea doesn’t take as long to catch on. People don’t seem to know that street and path litter ends up flowing directly into natural bodies of water and polluting a resource we all need. If every person in the world picked up one trash bag of garbage every week, a ton of garbage would be taken out of the streets and put where it belongs – in landfills or recycling centers.

I’ve been picking up trash for about two weeks now and have filled up 5 bags with garbage. They are only shopping bags, but it is that much more garbage off our streets. I can’t pick up every piece of garbage I see, but when I am biking slow, am waiting for a light or a break in the traffic, and when I’m not in a rush, it’s easy and painless to make this little contribution to my world’s well being. For example, if I am at a light waiting for it to change and I spot litter on the road or sidewalk, I just go over and pick it up. On my way to the library this morning, I picked up garbage that had collected on top of a storm drain in the street, and then half a block later I saw a ton on someone’s yard and picked that up too.

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