Oh, the West Virginia hills! How majestic and how grand, with her summits bathed in … trash? Perhaps not the words Ellen King had in mind, but unfortunately true, according to figures from the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Highways.
During the Make It Shine cleanup this spring, volunteers removed an astounding more than 300 tons of litter from across the state. Thank goodness for the 9,000 folks who gave their time to remove at least that much, though, of course, they were not capable of covering every square inch of the Mountain State.
Roadways, streams, trails and parks in every county did benefit from the cleanup effort.
Officials reported that among that 300 tons of trash were more than 2,400 discarded tires, which, in addition to being just plain ugly, can pose fire risks and harbor dangerous pests like mosquitoes.
Litterers display a disturbing level of laziness and disrespect, both for the environment and other people. They damage ecosystems, make what should be beautiful vistas an ugly mess and create more work for those who do care about the health and beauty of our surroundings.
There was a cartoon many years ago that imagined what the Earth would look like, piled high with trash from those who did not recycle or properly dispose of their refuse. Right here in West Virginia, we know that 300 tons a year from such a potential pile is handled properly only because of volunteers who take the time to do far more work than it would have required the initial litterer to simply toss his or her garbage into a trash can or recycling bin.
Take care of this land we have been given, folks. There is no excuse for trashing the place by the ton.