For the past three weeks, a broken green lawn chair has lain along U.S. 77 about three miles north of Victoria. When it first appeared along the highway, it looked as if it had fallen out of someone’s truck, but now as the grass has grown up around it, the broken chair is an unsightly piece of litter.

Trash dumping, whether it is intentional or accidental, ruins the landscape of the many highways and county roads in the Crossroads.

Dumping of trash and littering are illegal and cost the county and state money and time to clean up. People caught littering or dumping can be fined by the courts.

Recently, areas along the Guadalupe River have been littered with household trash, old tires and beverage containers. The river is a treasured natural resource that we all should care for, not make an ugly dumping ground.

Dumping of trash in the city is uncalled for as all residents who have utility connections with the city pay for garbage collection. All it takes is to put your trash in the canister and wheel it out to the curb – a pretty easy solution.

If you have big items to get rid of, the city will handle that as well.

The same can be said for rural residents who have access to private garbage collection companies as well as three collection sites in Bloomington, at the Victoria Regional Airport and Grouse Road, for a fee. Or they can take their trash to the landfill and pay a fee.

Dumping trash anywhere is lazy and thoughtless. Dumpers are not taking into consideration the labor involved in cleaning up the piles of trash that accumulate along county roads and the river.

The piles tend to grow as people see the trash and think it is OK to dump there.

In addition to being unsightly, the piles are dangerous for those cleaning because it is not known if the trash contains hazardous material or broken glass. Or if snakes and rats have made their home in the trash. All of this can harm workers who are cleaning up the mess left behind.

What can the public do to help keep area roads and byways clean and free of litter?

The state of Texas has two very successful anti-littering campaigns. Don’t Mess With Texas and the Adopt-a-Highway programs have both been around for more than 30 years and continue to grow. Both are worth being a part of.

Using celebrities and catchy tunes, Don’t Mess With Texas educates the public on the hazards of littering.

In the Adopt-a-Highway program, volunteers across the state collected 1.8 million pounds of litter during the 2018 Don’t mess with Texas Trash-Off. This isn’t counting the 90 percent of the litter that is collected throughout the year by contractors who are paid to keep the highways clean.

If you do not want to participate in the organized anti-litter/dumping campaigns, you can still do your part.

First, do not throw litter from your car. Keep a small trash bag in your car to dispose of cups, napkins, food wrappers and other items.

If you are moving or hauling garbage in the back of your truck or an open trailer, cover it with a tarp.

If you live in the county and do not want to pay commercial fees to have your trash collected, take it to one of the three citizen collection stations in the county.

If you are out enjoying nature or walking down the sidewalk and see a piece of trash on the ground, pick it up and take it to the nearest public trash can.

It takes everyone doing their part to keep ugly trash from taking over our communities. The more responsible we all are about our surroundings, the more the message that dumping is not acceptable behavior will spread.

This opinion reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate’s editorial board.

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(1) comment

Glenn Wilson

"If you have big items to get rid of, the city will handle that as well." -- From the city's Environmental Services website, "Large items are collected by a knuckle boom truck and are taken to the City of Victoria landfill." Instead of waiting for a call that will never come, why can't the boom truck, in it's travels, just stop and scoop up the huge piles of dead furniture and mattress littering our residential streets? Most of it looks like Harvey debris anyway, and considering that most of the neighborhoods where it's found were high-damage areas it probably is. IMO, the city needs to get off its high-horse and just go do its job, including a routine patrol at, say, monthly intervals.

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