Jon picking up trash

While it may seem like it’s just an unsightly nuisance, the truth is litter endangers our environment, our wildlife, and our economy. It pollutes our neighborhoods, decreases property values, and destroys our City's natural beauty.

Improperly discarded trash is a breeding ground for bacteria and diseases. Litter can spread diseases, viruses, and parasites and attract rodents.  The arsenic from cigarettes will taint soil and water.

Plastic litter is the most common killer of animals, and marine animals are the most notably affected.  Even beyond our Rappahannock River, plastic continues to travel into the Chesapeake Bay and the ocean. It refuses to break down and it’s responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of marine animals.  

Why do people litter?  Well, the reasons could be inconvenience and laziness, absence of ownership or pride for the area, feeling that someone else will pick it up, the number and placement of trash receptacles at or near the site, the absence of enforcement, lack of social pressure and lack of knowledge of the environmental impacts of littering.  Littering is something we learn from others and unconsciously pass on to our children.

The ideal way to handle the problem of littering is to prevent it in the first place. Let's all take responsibility to educate our friends and family, and, of course, lead by example.

You can also take a proactive approach to reducing litter in the City.  Keep a trash bag and a trash grabber in your vehicle whenever you’re out and about.  That’s what I do. Don’t just walk by litter, pick it up – every time.

When you go to a park, pack out your own trash, then dispose of it appropriately.  If you’ve ever seen Old Mill Park at the end of a weekend, you’ll see some trash cans overflowing with garbage. Our goal should always be to leave a place better than we found it, right?

photo by Kevin Brown, On the Fredericksburg Trails Facebook Group

And join up with others to do clean-ups whenever you see the opportunity.  It’s a great way to teach your family about responsibility and the environment and create a good example for others to follow.  And it’s fun.  I know – I’ve done several of them.  

So, I hope you’ll remember to do these easy things to help solve our litter problem in the City.  It’s very easy and our beautiful City will be much better for it.

Its Time!