With the spring cleanup ongoing, many local entities offer free dump days at the various refuse collection points. Fortunately, many citizens take advantage of this opportunity and discard literally everything from leaves and weeds up to and including the kitchen sink. A lot of what could become trash in the desert is discarded on those free dump days.
Some places even offer dump sites for such things as old paint, solvents and other chemical pollutants that could harm not only the environment, but animal life of all kinds as well.
There are even sites where a person can drop off old prescription medicines so as to avoid flushing them down the toilets or washing them down the sink and ultimately polluting our water supplies. Disposal of old medicines is a year-round function and most pharmacies and police agencies can inform residents as to where to properly dispose of these materials any time.
Thankfully there are various groups that collect debris from the banks of waterways, public parks, playgrounds and even from the desert areas around our fair state. These groups pick up tons of debris that is annually thrown into our whole environment. These same groups deserve a huge pat on the back for their unsung efforts at cleaning up after the insensitive citizens of our country.
People show their disrespect for our lands in another way that seemingly has no end: graffiti. You see it on buildings, railroad cars, bridges and virtually anyplace where these erstwhile artists can find an unprotected place to deposit their unwanted “art work.” We need to find a way to permanently put an end to this senseless defacement of our environment.
The other day as I was waiting in my car for an office to open in downtown Reno, I watched an elderly man sweeping the extensive sidewalk in front of his place of employment. His physical limitations enabled him to only sweep a small portion of the sidewalk at a time. I watched him at great length as he meticulously swept the sidewalk and then continued to sweep the debris from the gutter the whole length of his workplace.
He had finished the project and was putting away his cleaning tools when along came the city street sweeper. The gentleman was happy to see the street sweeper coming but as the behemoth rumbled past it quickly became apparent that it was depositing more debris than the man had swept up just a few moments before. The consternation in the man’s face was priceless. His level of irritation displayed like a scene out of a silent movie comedy, except I knew how hard he had worked to clean the expanse of the sidewalk with great care and precision despite his obvious age and disability.
After watching the unappreciative street sweeper disappear down the street, the man quietly picked up his push broom and started to re-sweep the sidewalk.
As with a lot of spring cleanups, one often takes two steps forward and three in reverse before the task is complete. A fact not lost on the elderly man, I’m sure.
Larry Wilson is a 50-year resident of Sparks and a retired elementary school teacher. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.