Letter: Youth groups now can join efforts to keep area clean

From: Scott Keen


Roadside trash says a lot about a community, and I am continually amazed at how much people will foul their own nests.

Travel along almost any road anywhere, and you will find roadsides littered with cans, bottles, butts, bags, tires, car parts, and every kind of assorted manmade junk. It looks terrible, is hazardous to wildlife and people, and leaves a trashy impression.

If litter makes you unhappy and embarrassed about the way humans mishandle their trash, as it should, there is something you and your friends, club and church members, youth groups, and families can do. Pick that stuff up! Anybody can do it. Buy some trash grabbing tongs, take a walk, and pick up some trash.

But, if you want to do it on a larger scale, more formally and get some assistance and public recognition for it, check this out:

The Bartholomew County Solid Waste Management District (BCSWMD) operates an “Adopt-A-County-Road” program. Essentially, a team of volunteers “adopts” a two-mile chunk of county road (even city road) and commits to clean it up at least twice a year for two years. You can find all the details and required sign-up forms online at bcswmd.com/vol1.php.

But get this: In a recent major change, the minimum age for volunteering was lowered from 16 years old to 12. That revision mirrors surrounding counties’ programs and opens the BCSWMD Adopt-A-County-Road program to youth groups such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4H, Young Marines, church groups, etc. These groups, heavily populated by 12- to 16-year-olds, can now contribute their youthful energy and enthusiasm to make an immediate, visible difference in their community. If you are a leader of such a group, please consider participating in this simple but effective community service program.

The district provides trash bags, safety vests, gloves, portable safety signs, and will pick up collected trash, and put up roadside signs identifying your team as doing the work to make Bartholomew County a cleaner and healthier place. Your team commits to providing the labor and being responsible for the roadside supervision of volunteers during the cleanup events.

By the way, INDOT offers a similar program for state highways.

Unfortunately, it appears sloppy solid waste management and litterbugs will be with us forever, so the need for caring volunteers to clean up after those uncaring scoundrels is ever present. Or we just get used to living in a dump and wading through trash.

So please, get engaged, adopt a road, pick up some trash and protect our wildlife and environment. Then step back and marvel at how much better the road looks after your team has cleaned it up.