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Keeping it clean

Published March 30. 2013 09:02AM

As I was busy working at my computer the other day, I took a moment to give my eyes a rest from the screen and looked out my office window just in time to watch a kid throw his partially full soda can to the ground.

I thought for sure his mother would make him pick it up (as I am sure most of us would) or at least pick it up herself and place it in the trash receptacle that was about 10 feet away.

Instead, she completely ignored his behavior as well as the litter, walked over to her car and left.

Sometime later, I observed a woman open up some sort of candy bar and discard the wrapper on the ground. Again, only 10 feet from the trash can which, by the way, has a large tray for people to extinguish their cigarettes. You wouldn't know it though, judging by all of the butts that litter the parking lot.

Thank goodness we have an excellent maintenance man who picks up after these people, although he shouldn't have to.

Littering has always been a pet peeve of mine.

I enjoy nature and it disturbs me to see garbage strewn all over the road or floating in a pond.

Since my girls were very young I have stressed the importance of putting trash in its place.

Not that they always listen, mind you.

I still have to make my teenager go back and pick up something she has thrown to the ground on rare occasions, but at least it is starting to bother her too when she sees someone toss a McDonald's bag or empty cup out of a car window.

In addition to being an ugly eyesore for all to behold, littering can have a devastating effect on our wildlife.

Broken glass can cut feet or paws. Plastic from a six pack can strangulate a small animal or a bird.

Improperly discarding fishing line can trap and incapacitate an animal leaving it to dehydrate or starve to death. The list goes on and on.

As the grass starts to turn green and the flowers and trees once again bloom, beauty will once again blanket the coal region. Unfortunately, so will the litter.

From now until May 31 is the Great American Cleanup of PA, with the nationwide cleanup day being held on April 6.

This is an annual event that is sponsored by the DEP, PennDOT, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful as well as several other groups.

The event encourages Pennsylvania residents to unite in an effort to clean up the mess that others have left behind.

Many groups and individuals will take to the streets and parks in communities across the state to help restore the natural beauty of the area.

In 2012 alone, over 141,000 Pennsylvania volunteers participated in the event and cleaned up 6.7 million pounds of litter.

In an effort to get people involved, PennDOT is offering free trash bags, gloves and safety vests to anyone who will join in on the project.

Residents can go to to get information on local clean up events.

Don't see one in your area? Well then, why not start your own! Gather up some family and friends and go to it!

6.7 million pounds of litter in PA alone is astounding and avoidable.

Though education and example we can all help to keep Pennsylvania beautiful.

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