Archive for Wednesday, June 6, 2001

Editorial: Area roads not fit for littering

June 6, 2001

As a mobile society, we spend an inordinate amount of time in our vehicles.

We eat in our cars. We even talk on the telephone in our cars. Some of us read in our cars.

And some of us litter from our cars.

Increasingly, Leavenworth County and the city of Tonganoxie have become vast trash cans for people motoring down our roads. In the rural areas of the county, some folks think it's permissible to dump old refrigerators, washers and dryers along with bags of trash.

To some of us, Leavenworth County is the most beautiful county in all of Kansas. The rolling hills and the lush vegetation make it a joy to drive in.

But this beauty is being ruined by unthinking members of our community and visitors to our area.

One local resident says ruefully that this is not a new problem. He often makes pilgrimages down to the county road that runs by his property to pick up beer cans and fast-food sacks that litter his land. It upsets him, and he's tired of it.

That's certainly understandable.

It's against the law to litter. But the fine in Tonganoxie is only $130.

And an officer must see the offender commit the crime. Citizens can sign a complaint, but that citizen then must testify in court about the offense.

"It's really hard to catch them in the act," said Tonganoxie police Officer John Putthoff.

And, obviously, police and sheriff's officers have many more serious crimes to investigate each day.

But our current system offers little deterrent to people who think little of heaving trash out of their car or truck windows.

Perhaps some immediacy would work better.

If someone were seen littering, for example, what if they were ordered to return to the scene of their crime, get out of their vehicle, pick up their trash and then dispose of it properly.

Would they think twice the next time the urge hits them to use our beautiful city streets and countryside as a sanitation dump?

Perhaps.

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