If cleanliness is next to Godliness… then Tazewell County IL is going straight to Hell!
Every year about this time… We see the first glints of greenery budding on the trees and bushes of Central Illinois. It’s our first whiff of the changing season and it comes with a small bit of joy as we feel the sun’s warmth trickling back into our days.
Also, as part of this special time, we get to see what the winter snowmelt has left us… Litter. Every ditch… Every field. It’s a plethora of plastic bottles, fast food containers, and random plastic bags from the mega-retailers and the grocers of Pekin.
You might say… “Eric… You’re really nitpicking here if you want to complain about garbage in the ditches”. Yeah… I agree. It should seem like a tiny concern in the scheme of things for a county with lots of other problems. I could be talking about Meth or Heroin overdoses and certainly get more people to agree with the level of concern. I think it comes from the time change. With our newly acquired evening sunlight, I see these ditches every day on the way home. This is not the first time I have written about this. I have posted similar articles before… It was particularly bad when I was driving to our old home on Christmas Tree Rd.
Throwing trash out of your car is a decision. I can recognize the flawed reasoning with beer cans and bottles. Beer cans are thrown out of your car to subvert the law and save yourself an open container ticket. Or worse yet… A DUI! Do not think for one minute I am condoning the behavior… It’s very prevalent In these parts, but I would never risk my livelihood. Others do even though the penalties are large and life-altering. They lessen their risk by casting their “empties” out the window.
Littering is not like drugs. It’s not an uncontrollable addiction. (Not getting into that right now)(Then again… If online shopping can be an addiction… Who’s to say?) Throwing trash out of your car is a complete and utter disrespect of the land and shows a lack of consideration for yourself and your fellow man.
Take a look at the pictures. This is one ditch on Allentown Road outside of Pekin. I can tell you that 5th, 14th and Rt 29 are as bad. Look around and every other road around town that has a ditch and you will see it looks like this to some degree.
It is so bad that I have to wonder where we are lacking in our roles as citizens and peers. Was it something in our parental guidance? Do we not throw this kind of education at our kids in downstate Illinois? What do people think happens to this garbage after it’s thrown out the window? Do people around here lack a sense of presence? I mean, do they understand that every day they contribute to this behavior, they are leaving an ugly mark on this earth. And really… For no reason at all. There are gas stations with trash bins all over. There are public trashcans. It’s sheer laziness and disrespect to pretend that throwing it out the window is a better option. Something is amiss here.
A friend of mine saw my Instagram post about this a few weeks ago (Same Pictures BTW) and said every kid should see the video we had shown between cartoons in the 70’s. The iconic Indian looking over the wasteland of 70’s urban America. Let’s play it now shall we?
We have to start young! Kids need something like this to latch onto. I don’t care if it’s Sponge Bob! At least they would stop what they are doing and listen to him. Keep American Beautiful was the Government agency involved with the Ad Council in the 70’s that ran these PSA’s. I did a quick google search. They are still around and have moved past those blurry commercials. They have a chapter in Peoria. See the links at the bottom.
Also… What about the old Litter Bug? I never hear that term anymore. Time to dig that guy back out!
I think I am going to see if Aiden has any thoughts about doing an anti-litter program for his Eagle Scout project. I am honestly interested in helping out myself, but just like everyone else… I have had the excuse that I don’t have time! Maybe when we get these kids out of the house? I can collect garbage on my sailboat?