Unwanted trash is everywhere: Pick it up

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garbage

I was driving home recently on state Route 59, just east of Ravenna and noticed that an old, discarded recliner chair was sitting right where it’s been for months, in plain sight and no doubt it is exactly where a lazy previous owner dropped it in the mud of a barren power line right of way.

It will probably sit there for a few more years. It’s a shame that we are so used to seeing trash every day and everywhere that for the most part, we simply shake our collective heads and go about our business.

Careless and intentional trash litters nearly every road we travel. That chair, mattresses, tires — you name it — a disgusting display of noncaring folks.

Trash

Our unwanted trash is everywhere. I hate that chair. I know I should drive across the right of way and gather it up for a proper burial but then again, it’s not my job. And too, after exposure to the elements for months on end, I doubt if I could lift it.

However, if it’s not, whose job is it?

The following Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) release awaited my arrival at home. I’ve shortened it for space.

“Recently, MWCD rangers conducted an extensive investigation to identify who was responsible for the illegal dumping of trash and debris on Crider Road, west of state Route 603 near Mansfield on MWCD property.

“MWCD Rangers began searching for evidence and although most of the dumped material was from a construction site, a few key pieces of information were identified, which led rangers to a home in Ashland, Ohio. After conducting several interviews, the suspects were identified.

“Littering charges have been filed which is a misdemeanor of the third degree and punishable up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. MWCD Rangers, employees, and volunteers continuously collect trash discarded in and around the lakes throughout the year in an effort to improve water quality, protect wildlife, and maintain the beauty of the lakes.

“In the past year, an estimated 300 tires and 130 cubic yards of trash was gathered from all MWCD’s lakes. Under Ohio Law, litter is any trash thrown or discarded or dropped by a person onto public property, private property not owned by the individual, or into Ohio’s waterways.

“Illegal dumping is dumping of household waste, such as bags of garbage, old appliances and furniture. The Ohio Revised Code prohibits littering and illegal dumping, and both are considered a criminal offense and punishable by fines and time in jail.

“It is not only unsightly but harmful to the environment. Offenders often dump to avoid the cost to dispose of waste material properly. If you witness littering or illegal dumping, please call your local law enforcement office to report the incident.”

Pick it up

Let’s do our part to lessen the impact litter has on our lives. Let’s all make an effort this fall to pick up every tiny scrap we might see regardless of how it got there.

While hunting, pick up empty shell casings, drink cans, etc. Carry a gallon size zip-seal bag for your collection. Better make that two bags.

Sure, some litter gets there by accident, but even more by careless discard. It’s rewarding to empty a bag full of trash from a hunting coat after each trip afield.

Several years ago I was witness to the right way to clean our outdoor environment. I was in the company of Hap Wilson, a Temagami, Ontario, wilderness legend.

We had flown into the northern reaches of the Lady Evelyn River. Our goal was to sample the speckled trout fishing as we camped and portaged our way downstream.

Wilson was one tough character and he could shoulder a heavy backpack and canoe as we loaded and toted around waterfalls and extreme rapids.

On one portage Wilson stopped to shed his load. I thought we were going to take a short break. Instead, he started moving large stones until he could reach a bottle cap that someone had dropped.

He replaced the stones as they were, pocketed the bottle cap and gathered his load.

That opened my eyes more then, and the memory still stays with me.

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Mike Tontimonia has been writing weekly columns and magazine features about the outdoors for over 25 years, a career that continues to hold the same excitement for him as it did at the beginning. Mike is a retired educator, a licensed auctioneer and marketing consultant. He lives in Ravenna, Ohio and enjoys spending time at his Carroll County cabin. Mike has hunted and fished in several states and Canada from the Carolinas to Alaska and from Idaho to Delaware. His readers have often commented that the stories about his adventures are about as close to being there as possible. He is past president of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Mike is also very involved in his community as a school board member and a Rotarian.

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