Pitch in and put trash in its place

I remember a grade school initiative that taught us about respecting our community and to find the proper place for our trash. It seems as though some of the people in my county might need a refresher course on this subject.

My home is about 10 miles from town, and some of the roads I take to town aren’t as populated as others. Ours only has three occupied homes on it. I’m guessing someone who doesn’t live on one of these roads might think, “Oh, no one comes down this way,” and decide it could be a good place for some sort of mischief. More than once I’ve encountered trash strewn about, furniture discarded and other menaces to the county roads in my area.

One morning back in August, I was taking my boys to school. There’s a steep hill with some curves on our road, with a bridge that’s only wide enough for one vehicle at a time. Scattered along the curves and at the bottom of the bridge was a large pile of trash. Irritated, I made the comment to my oldest son, “I sure wish people would take care of their trash!” This sent him in a rampage as the kid has heard his mother rant and rave about people dumping their trash on the side of the road more than once.

When I came back home from taking them to school, the trash was still there and I thought about stopping to see if I could see any distinguishing marks or trash with someone’s name on it, but thought twice since I didn’t have any gloves with me. Who knows where it came from or what it had in it?

Later that morning my closest neighbor texted and asked if I’d noticed the trash on my way to town. She said it was a lot worse the night before when she came home and the other neighbor had stopped to pick it up. I told her I’d email the road and bridge person for the county and see if he could point me in the right direction as to who to report it to and possibly getting the rest of it cleaned up.

Eventually I got a reply to my email and was told to call the non-emergency line for the sheriff and report it. He also said he’d get someone from the landfill to come pick it up if they had time. So I reported it. They took my complaint and said they’d send out an officer if they had someone available. Later that morning my dogs started barking and when I went to investigate, much to my surprise there was a sheriff’s officer sitting in my drive.

They’d apparently missed the pile of trash as they drove to my house and asked where it was located. I gave them some directions and he asked if I’d looked through it. No, because I didn’t have gloves. My dogs wouldn’t quit barking at him and I probably only heard about half the conversation, but he looked at me like I was crazy. Later on the neighbor texted me again and said the sheriff was back down there and the next time I was down the road all the trash was gone.

I told my neighbor that it must have been a slow day in the county for them to send out two officers and a landfill employee to pickup about a half trailer load of trash. I was not expecting the quick response, but it’s still completely aggravating. Later when I posted on my social media page, a number of friends commented how they’ve had similar experiences with trash, and one even had to deal with someone disposing of dead livestock on their road.

Two friends commented about how they work for the county they reside in and one said he’s shocked at how much money the county spends to pick up the trash people discard on the county roads. We commented back and forth about how the county could remedy the situation and make the landfills and excess trash removal a little bit more affordable. I recently checked with our landfill for the cost of trash disposal and found it was only $36 per ton. That’s a lot less than what I pay for a dumpster at my house each month.

Maybe those folks who dump in the county need to do some community service picking up trash to repay for their crimes. The petty in me wants to pick it up and find some random yard in town to dump it in.

I know the many other times I’ve noticed a trash piles in the county, I always thought to myself who does this kind of thing? What’s the weirdest, grossest, horrific or downright maddening thing you’ve found dumped on a county road?

Kylene Scott can be reached at 620-227-1804 or [email protected].