Some of you may have seen a solitary figure, often wearing an orange down vest, along some of Rye’s well-known streets, mostly in the Locust Avenue-North Street vicinity. Perhaps a couple of you wonder what he is doing, with his bag of trash, stooping and picking up whatever others have thrown out of their car windows.
It was a habit developed when walking our dog Dodger, a little Shih Tzu with a big heart. We walked together, he doing his thing, and I mine – picking up trash, making the time spent useful to the community. It was a very sad day when we had to put Dodger down last summer. That habit of getting up early and walking lived on without him. I have kept on picking up the bagfuls of trash strewn by uncaring people – some residents, undoubtedly, some workers in the community, some just passers-by.
Among the most common items typically tossed are: beer cans (I get that, drinking and driving, then getting rid of the evidence); cigarette packs; coffee cups; fast-food wrappers; soda cans and cups; and – believe it or not – bottles filled with urine, presumably from those who don’t have ready access to a bathroom.
I can clean an entire stretch of road some 100 yards long, both sides, in a single walk. You can bet there will be a bag or two of trash to pick up a week later. The discarding is regular and continuous.
There are some areas I have attempted to clean up but have decided not to any more. There is just too much trash, it would take a group to pick all of it up. The most offensive area surrounds Playland Parkway, a no-man’s land for the City. It’s County property so no Rye City worker will come near it. I know – I picked up a couple bags of trash there last year, then called the City to pick it up. When they found out the bags were on County property, they refused. I drove back, moved the bags across the street so they could pick them up. Then they did.
Just open your eyes as you walk or drive down our streets and you will see how prevalent a problem it is. I wish we could come up with a solution to cutting down on littering, but until then, if we all do our part – during a dog walk, or even just while getting some exercise – our pretty town will benefit by our collective efforts. Join me in helping the cleanup.
- Andy Goodenough