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My View: Litter is laying waste to our cities and towns

By Robert Murphy

This is not a front page topic, but I view it more as a pride and environmental issue. We are a nation of litter. Be it traveling our roadways, to our beaches, to even walking our streets, each area is infused with litter of some kind.

I wonder why this must be. Why are we so lazy, so uncaring that it is OK to just toss our litter, our trash, anywhere we want to? I am not going to claim that I am without littering sin myself, but my days of deliberate littering are long gone.

Let me give kudos to those businesses and individuals who do care about this issue, who have pride in their behavior and/or property and control the urge to just discard litter anywhere. Let me also give a shout out to those who lead and take part in cleanup campaigns of our beaches, parks and streets. Thank you for your time and efforts.

Robert Murphy

In my drive to work I would often see workers from the city or Olmsted Parks walking the Delaware S-curves and into Delaware Park using hand extenders to pick up trash. Inspired by their actions I recently began the same practice on my daily walks and here are some of my findings.

* Cigarette butts are by far the most discarded item. If you smoke that is your choice, but do you have to throw the butts literally everywhere?

* It seems that the 5-cent deposit on beverage cans and bottles is no incentive to not litter.

* Our main thoroughfares are the worst. It’s as if, just because it is not your front yard it is OK to litter.

* Mini-liquor bottles are everywhere.

* It is obvious which businesses and homeowners take pride in their surroundings.

* Being free of litter one day means nothing the next day, when it is likely trash will be there.

I have been stopped on my walks, thanked and praised for picking up things along the way and my goal would be to inspire others to be more litter alert. I did have one woman say that she was going to take up the cause as I have.

With my goal in mind here are some suggestions:

Homeowners, please inspect your surroundings and that includes your neighbor's front yard as well. Do not neglect the curbside area, as that is where much litter accumulates.

Renters, even though you don't own the place you, too, can help out.

Team coaches and parents, as your teams come and go from our parks have your team clear the area of litter, leaving the area better than when you arrived.

Landscapers and lawn services, please do not just mow over the litter, shredding it into multiple pieces and making it more difficult to pick up.

Business owners, please do regular rounds of your property, parking lots included. Just 15 minutes a day would go far.

City and town sanitation departments, please have more frequent pickups for public garbage cans, and maybe more such containers available.

Construction site managers, please be aware of the litter you are creating to minimize its effect on your surroundings.

Clubs, organizations, schools, please take up the cause, even teach what littering does to our environment.

I have no expectation that this column will make a huge difference on this issue but I hold out the hope that it will inspire some to be more considerate. Let's build some pride in showcasing the best of what we have and not have it marred by cigarette butts and beers cans.

Robert Murphy, of Buffalo, is leading a crusade to put litter in its place.

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