LETTER: Tailgating trash creates piles of problems

Wednesday, October 15, 2008 | 3:32 p.m. CDT

As a person who has been involved in river clean-ups and educating children about how trash ends up flowing into our rivers and streams for the last six years, I found it very disheartening to roll back into town on Monday morning, after spending yet another glorious weekend on the river, to see bottles, cans and an assortment of plastic littering the entire length of Providence from around the football stadium and throughout the downtown area.

When will people realize they are not only hurting the earth by doing such mindless things, but in due time, are causing themselves harm?  I read on about how the plastic breaks down into tiny pieces, and all of the aquatic animals that eat plankton are in turn eating PCBs, destroying their immune systems, passing it up the food chain, and causing a 300 percent rise in Autism in children.  

Think about the bigger picture here, if all of that trash doesn't get picked up, during the next big rain, it will flow downstream, into the gutters, into our storm drains, into our river and streams, and ultimately into the ocean where there is an island of plastic the size of Texas, and growing ... breaking down into persistent and harmful environmental pollutants.  

I spoke with someone from MU recently about what I saw, and I was relieved when he told me about all of the efforts being made to help mitigate this problem.  They are doing everything from supplying 900 trash cans and recycle containers, to spending more money on clean-up efforts, to physically handing out trash and recycle bags to tailgaters and educating them. To all of the football fans out there, use your education and become part of the solution, and not the problem!  Please pick upand pack out your trash.



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Charles Dudley Jr October 16, 2008 | 11:14 a.m.

Melanie Cheney take a tour of down town itself after any Friday,Saturday,Sunday night of every weekend partying and you will see the same things. Is this right that the "Down Town District Association" allows this to continue either? What does our First Ward City Councilman Paul Sturtz think of all of this trash being left in numerous parking lots all over his beloved "Down Town District" area? Maybe the City of Columbia should be issuing litter fines to the "Downtown District" business owners who allow this trash to lay around their respective businesses after 9 am the next day? Hey every citizen knows we can use that revenue created by the issuance of these types of "Fines" to fund our ever needing police department. It would not be hard to enforce since you have Columbia Police Department patrol cruisers traveling the area all they have to do is use a digital camera or video recorder that records the date and time to snap a shot of the offending business in question and submit it just like any other report they file. It would only take a couple minutes to process and log. Maybe in this way we can get the message across that citizens in this city are sick of the trash littering our city.

Oh I can hear the protests now but what do any of you suggest we just let the trash problems continue to overwhelm our city or ?

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking October 16, 2008 | 12:55 p.m.

During the week, there's a street sweeper that drives around early in the morning, but it doesn't run on weekends when it is the most needed. If it were me, I'd have the sweeper run Thursday through Monday.

Just a clarification - plastic does not and never has contained PCB's. They may contain plasticizers that are estrogen mimics, and they never really break down (although in a landfill they pretty much stay put). The plastic (in the "island") that fish eat is pretty much inert - it's more that it blocks light and gives support to organisms that change the ecosystem of the area. Autism has never been convincingly linked to plastics (or anything else).

PCB's are coolants in transformer oils. They were banned decades ago, and environmental levels are dropping. They're actually fairly hard to find now.


(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr October 16, 2008 | 1:25 p.m.

I'm not talking about in the City Streets themselves downtown Mark I am talking about in alot of the private parking areas,sidewalks adjacent to those businesses. Those are the ones those businesses own and are not readily cleaned up after all of the late night partying and then if the wind blows you get that party trash blowing all over the area. Even if while those business owner picked up the gutters around their places as well it would help immensely in the fight to keep Columbia clean.

One example is the area of 9th and Elm down town,another is around Gumby's and so many more.

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