Volunteers will extract tons of litter from Millers Run in Cecil Township Saturday as part of the 23rd Annual River Sweep. Their efforts are an exemplary demonstration of civic pride. Yet it is disheartening to think they’ll need to return to the same stream a few years and do it all over again.
This cycle of dumping and cleanup will continue unless action is taken to make recycling everyone’s better option. As it is now, many people find it more convenient and affordable to simply chuck their used tires off roadsides and into stream beds rather than pay several dollars for each one to be recycled. New regulations have made it nearly impossible to dispose of television sets, dehumidifiers and refrigerators legally. And without a “bottle bill” in Pennsylvania that would require deposit and redemption on drink containers, our roadsides will continue to be littered with cans and bottles.
At the very least, we cannot penalize people for doing the right thing; public subsidy to eliminate recycling fees is required, but that’s certainly a better use of our tax dollars than funding the nation’s largest and most expensive state legislature.
Until our elected officials are filled with the same sort of civic pride as the River Sweep volunteers, expect to see more obsolete, heavyweight TV sets joining the usual trash on the berms, in the woods and in our creeks.