Some people are so lazy that they would stick out their tongue and ask another person to swish a lollipop in their mouth. They drive to clothes only donation boxes and discard things like furniture or mattresses. Since these large items won’t fit inside the clothing slot, the litterers dump them on the ground. It is assumed that since they drove there, they have a valid driver’s license. In order to obtain a valid driver’s license, they must have successfully passed a written driver’s test. Therefore, it is assumed that they are able to read the large words “CLOTHES ONLY” on the donation box. They are inconsiderate, and they don’t give a boo, heckle or hiss about other people’s property, the beauty of nature, or any standards except their own.

They are litterbugs just like the people who throw trash from their car window. It’s really no different from dropping a lit cigarette in someone else’s bowl of soup.

A definition of littering is dropping or leaving objects on the ground for other people to properly dispose. It’s illegal in Georgia for any person to dump, deposit, throw, or leave litter on any public or private property. The law makes an exception for leaving items where there’s a receptacle or space designated for that purpose. Donation boxes that are clearly marked “CLOTHES ONLY” are found on many private shopping center parking lots. Some folks must think that the signs on the donation boxes are not intended for them and they are entitled to dump anything their heart desires. Unless the property owner has an agreement with the donation box owner, the property owner is left with the responsibility of cleaning up the illegally dumped mess.

If our country could stop littering, our government wouldn’t have to annually spend millions of our taxpayer dollars to pick it up. Some people don’t think twice about tossing a cigarette butt or gum wrapper out of a car window because they’re so small. But, when these small items are tossed by lots of people, they become a massive mess. Over half of all litter is made up of cigarette butts, and because they take over 10 years to decompose, their litter is a serious threat to our environment.

Litter can actually cause traffic accidents. Is it an animal, a baby, money, or glass that’s in that paper sack in the middle of the road? Drivers tend to dodge litter, and that can cause them to crash into other objects. That can also lead occupants to serious injury or death.

Some folks litter because of laziness, lousy parenting, lack of education, and in some cases just plain worthlessness. Fast food wrappers are the No. 1 thing that’s littered, followed by aluminum, glass and plastic. A litterer might say that the closest trash receptacle is nasty, too small, too full, or just too far away. But judging by the amount of roadside rubbish, litterers prefer to toss their discards rather than go to the trouble of finding a legal way to dispose.

If educational programs about littering taught everyone the horrible side effects, would we would see less litter alongside the road? Unfortunately, litterers think only of themselves and they believe that trash is someone else’s problem.

The easiest thing to do when litter is illegally tossed is to look the other way. The hardest thing to do when litter is illegally tossed is to understand that knowledge is power. It’s the power to make a difference in the amount of trash illegally tossed All trash should be recycled or disposed of properly. Speak up instead of picking it up America, litter is lousy.

Littering is not always intentional, but it certainly does negatively impact our environment for many, many years. Scientist are hard at work trying to put man on another planet, but as of now, the earth is all we have. The outside world isn’t a trash can, and it’s everybody’s responsibility to take care of our world so it can take care of us. Everyone can be part of the solution and not contribute to litter pollution. It’s everyone’s place to stop litter pollution at the supplier, but the challenge is that many of us are the supplier.

Litter laziness isn’t a flaw in a person’s character, it’s a very bad habit. Lazy people are doomed to live around lazy friends who share lazy thoughts. Don’t develop the lazy litter habit, it’s possible to eat fast food and keep the wrapper too.

Charlie Sewell is a retired Powder Springs police chief. His book “I’d Rather You Call Me Charlie: Reminiscences Filled With Twists of Devilment, Devotion and A Little Danger Here and There” is available on Amazon. Email him at retiredchiefsewell@gmail.com.

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