By Harriet Hoskyns-Abrahall
It's dirty work, it's mind-numbing work, it's back-testing work.
But it is necessary that some people be responsible for our community's sections of Lindbergh Drive and La Vista Road.
It should be noted that there is a certain grim satisfaction in seeing the sidewalks looking cleaner and the front gardens free of debris.
We all owe a debt of gratitude to Sarah Hailey for sustaining the Litter Pick-Up initiative once a month, and to Jennifer Jones for taking over when Sarah left our part of town.
So, what does the pick-up REALLY entail?
First, showing up no later than the appointed time for a reflective orange vest and blue rubber gloves provided by LLCC via GDOT. Then agreeing to clear a section of the route, with a partner, IF there are enough people for this.
Being only four on Saturday, probably a record low in the cold and the wind, we split the task into two sections, one on Lindbergh, the other on LaVista, and we each took one side of the road.
And what did we find? I speak only for myself on Lindbergh Drive.
- The most ubiquitous problem is cigarette butts which we tend to ignore because they are so small and would take all day to collect.
- Someone, who must be a regular at the bus stop, smokes cigarettes with a plastic filter on the end. I must have picked up two dozen of those. We need to lurk there one day to catch him/her in the act!
- Detritus from McDonald's. After cigarettes, most of the paper litter is related to food. At least 50 percent of what I picked up on the North side of Lindbergh Drive had a McDonald's logo, sometimes with the addition: "I'm Lovin' It!" I can tell you, I was not! If I had 50 cents for every McDonald's piece of litter I collected, I would now have at least $60. And that is just for one month.
- Unusual items: these are not as wide-ranging as those we find on Cheshire Bridge Road during the annual Great American Clean-Up, but there is always something. For me this time it was a CVS shopping cart, parked in the middle of a front lawn. I was a good distance from our gathering spot so it provided excellent transport for my orange bag of "collectibles". And later, CVS staff seemed very grateful.
- Giving back: Beyond the last house before the bridge on the north side of Lindbergh Drive, in the bushes, there appeared to be an abandoned bed, made of paper. Upon further investigation, the paper revealed itself as personal mail. There were Holiday cards and bills, notices and circulars, all from the same address on LaVista Road. All the mail was stamped but the outgoing was not franked. Every piece had suffered from rain and exposure. And every piece is being returned to Broadview Post Office.
Neighbors, when you see the orange vests on Lindbergh Drive and LaVista Road on a Saturday morning, how about giving them a personal word of thanks, or a honk and wave from your car?
Of course, we are not out there for the glory, but encouragement is hugely welcome. For the record, not one person expressed thanks to me this month, even when they were in their driveways.
Better yet, come and join us sometimes.
The Pick-Up takes less than an hour, especially if we can rely on a crew every month.
Meantime, I am going to McDonald's to see if there might be a creative way to motivate people they serve to refrain from littering. So far, I have only come up with one solution that would work: an empty container would result in instant and automatic pulverization.
Our next litter pick-up event will be Saturday, March 10 at 9:00 AM. Gather at the old Varsity Jr. location on Lindbergh Drive where we will divide into groups. Hope to see you there!
Harriet Hoskyns-Abrahall is the Pedestrian Coordinator for the Lindbergh-LaVista Corridor Coalition, a nonprofit that aims to redefine and revitalize the community. Learn more about the group on the LLCC website.