Part of the spring clean-up on Enviro Girl’s 60 acres includes the annual Battle Against Litter. Her property borders a county highway and from what Enviro Girl and Team Testosterone have seen in their spring cleaning of the ditches and fields, their stretch of road is a Tavern Trash Bin. Seriously. They pick up bags full of beer cans, liquor bottles, cigarette butts, cigarette cartons, fast food wrappers (odd, since the closest fast food restaurant is over 8 miles away) and more beer cans. Enviro Girl would like the sit by the road at 2 a.m. and chuck this garbage back at the jerkwads who thoughtlessly toss trash into her ditch.
Every spring when the ground dries out, Team Testosterone and Enviro Girl gear up for the Battle Against Litter. Garbage Bags, Wheelbarrow, Rakes and Heavy-Duty-Protective-Gloves are amassed and they trudge courageously to the Battlefield. Candy wrappers, milk cartons and homework sheets get captured on the Western Front next to the elementary school. Shopping bags and newspapers are taken prisoner in the fields–this litter is usually AWOL from trash barrels, blown by harsh winds and circumstance into the prairie and against tree trunks. They collect more plastic bags than any other kind of litter in the fields, prompting Enviro Girl to write annual letters to local and state representatives begging them to ban shopping bags–while she believes some garbage blowing around her property is inevitable, the prolific amount of plastic shopping bags has her convinced that some of the litter could be stopped at the source. If people would use reusable bags and say NO to plastic shopping bags, Enviro Girl and her sons would collect half as much trash.
She also believes if people threw away less stuff, there would be less litter in general. If people didn’t fill their garbage bins each week and left them out once a month, she thinks less garbage would get blown around the fields, ditches and forests. If people consumed fewer “disposable” goods, like plastic shopping bags, fast food containers, plastic water bottles, individually wrapped packages of snack foods, less trash would clog streams and creeks and culverts.
Team Testosterone has been trained since age 2 to become warriors in the Battle Against Litter. They spot an unusual shade of white or the shine of foil and pounce on it with vigor, seizing the enemy and banishing it to a Garbage Bag. They are conditioned to endure long stretches of boredom as they follow Enviro Girl across the fields and trails–a two-hour march to completely liberate the environment from garbage.
Every year the hardest-fought stretch is along the county highway. It’s dangerous–cars and trucks race past without regard for their safety. It’s stinky–old beer, cigarette butts and carcasses of roadkill hover in the air. It’s dirty–mud clings to their feet and filth adheres to their gloves. They sort and separate the prisoners after capture–plastic bottles, glass and aluminum will head to a recycling center. Wrappers, cartons, paper and unrecognizable mercenary trash will head to the landfill.
At the end of the afternoon, Enviro Girl rallies her troops to stash the bags of garbage safely in the ditch until Wednesday when the sanitation crew will pick them up. They step back to
beg for cookies admire the clean grassy fields and creek banks before heading to the showers.
Throughout the year, Enviro Girl will flush out enemy litter on the property by gathering stray bits while she hikes. Because of wind and
drunken jerkwads thoughtless people, the War Against Litter never ends, but they only have energy for one big battle a year.
It’s a small thing to throw your garbage away in a trash can and respect the environment. It’s a bigger thing to go around cleaning up other people’s garbage and rescue wildlife habitats from dangerous metal edges and suffocation from plastic bags. Enviro Girl says, “Help Woodsy Owl! Give a hoot, don’t pollute! And give a bigger hoot by enlisting in the War Against Litter sometime this spring. An hour in a local park, playground or along your street can make a big difference.”