We have beautiful lands here in the mountains. Our soil is fertile. Our springs are clear. Our mountains are misty. Tourists flock to these lands because the stunning panoramic views are legendary. But we have a problem (one of many, to be sure).
I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but we trudge through a sea of litter. Of course, certain things will always be with us. Trash is one of them. But we can do better. At one time, we did better. When my brother and I were kids in the (cough, cough) 70s, we watched Walt Disney’s “In the Bag.” We were so inspired and started throwing away bits of garbage while doing the “bump, bump” dance. The nonprofit organization Keep America Beautiful released a gut-wrenching television ad you can see here. The ad was quite persuasive. And my home state of Tennessee had its own PSA against littering. At the end of that ad, an announcer says, “We have met the enemy and he is us!”
For a while, it seemed people started caring for their lands. For a while, it seemed people littered less and had more respect for living spaces. Now, not so much. Trash is everywhere. Lots of it. Refuse is in our woods, in our waters, on our roads, and near our homes. I thought I’d create a little photo gallery to show the inescapability of our garbage.
** Trigger warning: Some of these images show evidence of addiction.
**All images photographed by Delonda Anderson
I do quarterly bike lane clean ups, including the surrounding ditches and roadsides, along the River Rd in Asheville, NC for the Blue Ridge Bike Club. Monthly, I pick up litter, count plastic bags and bottles for a survey, and do a water sample for micro plastics at the Pierson Bridge boat launch site on the French Broad River for the environmental advocacy group, MountainTrue. MountainTrue is trying to get Asheville to ban single-use plastic bags. Micro plastics are prevalent in the French Broad River, especially synthetic fibers. Cigarette butts, by count, are the items I’m picking up most frequently in the litter clean ups. While I don’t think all smokers litter, I bet there is a strong correlation between smokers and litterers.
Hello Jim. Thank you for introducing us to MountainTrue. I love their mission and their site. For a while, I tried a zero-waste lifestyle. Then, I went to a low-waste lifestyle. Then, the pandemic hit and it became more difficult to trek to grocery stores. At that time, little to no farmers markets were available. Then, certain life happenings occurred, but I am slowly coming back. I quite enjoy living (or trying to live to the best of my ability) a more sustainable, low waste lifestyle.