Last updated: July 24. 2013 2:37PM - 148 Views

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Bob Strickley

PDT Content Manager

In 2008, I spent a couple of weeks visiting a friend in Durham, N.C. My stay was extended because of the ice storm that ripped through Ohio leaving chunks of the state without power. As a freelancing journalist, I figured I would stay on vacation rather than return to powerless house. Because of that mindset, I took the long way home.

The drive up Interstates 77 and 64 was a scenic one, outside of having to stop every 50 miles or so because my Oldsmobile’s wipers failed. I made the decision to take Route 52 home rather than working my way up to Route 32. People had told me that the drive was beautiful, with the Ohio River fixed to your left and various towns and rural outposts interspersed. I had grown up only a couple miles from the road on the east side of Cincinnati, why not see what the barges see before they cruise by my childhood home?

This was my first Portsmouth experience. As I came into New Boston my initial thought was “alas, finally something significant.” As I made my way down Gallia Street my thoughts changed to, “this is significantly littered.”

Strewn along the roadway were emptied fast food containers, beer bottles and just about anything anyone has ever been lazy enough to toss out the window of a moving car. Add the limitless traffic lights along that route and there was plenty of time to be perturbed.

Fast forward to 2011, and as coincidence would have it, I found myself employed in Portsmouth and sad to see the litter problem had not improved. To date, it’s still a major problem in this area.

As Kyle McCain of the Portsmouth Municipal Court described that section of Gallia Street in today’s edition of the Daily Times, it’s an “explosion of garbage.”

While the Court and the Lawrence-Scioto Solid Waste Management District deserve praise for their recent effort to clean up that area, that effort shouldn’t have been needed in the first place.

Littering isn’t just a crime, it’s an insult. Anyone who tosses garbage on the side of our roads is insulting the community and the person they have to look at in the mirror. This is home, and no self-respecting person consciously lowers the quality of their own home.

LSSWMD Director Dan Palmer had the money quote:

“We had to do something. What does this (roadway) say to people coming from other areas, driving through? What does this say about the community? Is this conducive to anyone wanting to bring a business to town?” Palmer said. “By doing this we hope we can instill pride and respect from motorists and residences for this area.”

Bullseye, Mr. Palmer. My 2008 impression stuck with me until I was here long enough to know more about this area. There is so much potential here. So many good, hardworking people who want to build on what has been achieved and see things improve further. We can help improve things by putting our trash in trash cans and reporting the people who we see littering to the LSSWMD.

When it comes to littering, you are the garbage you toss.

Bob Strickley can be reached at 353-3101, ext. 296, or bstrickley@civitasmedia.com.

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