Littering and group think

by Mary Phillis Horn

Pittsboro, NC – Recently I read in one of the publications available in the county that there has been an influx of littering. Specifically at the end of the ramp from 421 onto Hwy. 64. At first I thought that unusual, because I’ve not encountered litter there, on my past numerous treks to Greensboro and back along 421.

litter collectionThe image that came to mind resembles one I encountered many many years ago while ambling along a path through the woods. I’d just finished munching on a candy bar when I came to a place where there was a lot of litter. That seldom occurred on a forested path. Usually I would stuff the candy paper into my handbag or pocket. But this time, the thought sprang to mind…”oh well, what’s the difference, I can throw it into the ‘mix’ and no one will be the wiser. After all, I didn’t start the litter pile.” A tinge of guilt much? That I remembered that all these years?

It’s a lot easier for all of us to give up and litter — in whatever form we choose to do it — when someone else has started it.  And what came to mind when I read the small piece of news in the paper was: Hmm… coal ash dumping is a form of litter. That is, putting something here that we know is not right for our environment, whether that’s visual or invisible, an eyesore or a whole-physical-body injury threat-sore.  The littering on the ramp off 421 says that people don’t care how it looks; after all, they won’t be there long. Yet, isn’t that what Duke Energy officials seem to think about our county’s people? After all, they don’t have to look at it.  I wonder how much of a tinge of guilt will reside in their minds and souls over the upcoming years?

I wonder what would happen if our whole county unequivocally joined together to give a massive outcry to Duke and our own governmental agencies about the coal ash littering?  Just like there was a massive group of Siler City people who showed up to clean the litter out of the streets of Siler City?