EDITORIAL: Don’t dump your junk

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Stop littering!

It’s a message often repeated but one that has apparently yet to sink in the minds of the litterbugs of Perry County whose ugly handiwork can be seen alongside highways and county roads.

We’ve editorialized about littering and illegal dumping before, apparently to no avail. We like to think fewer people these days throw out fast-food bags, aluminum cans and other trash from their cars. Littering isn’t socially acceptable. Most of us know that, but we’re still dismayed by the amount of trash that still litters the sides of roads. Also disappointing are the messes we find in places like Sycamore Road, where old couches, kitchen appliances, mattresses and bags of trash lie strewn as if some springtime tornado tore through a home.

It’s ugly and embarrassing and it should make all of us angry. 

There’s no excuse for illegal dumping and anyone caught doing it should face a steep fine and if we had our way, a weekend or two in the county jail and several hours of picking up the roadside trash of others. 

We know most conversations about illegal dumping lead to talk about ways to find better ways to promote the proper disposal of trash and recyclables.

Finding ways to make it easier for people to dispose of their household trash is a noble effort but we’re convinced some people simply don’t care and would still dump their junk even if there were free pickup of every sort of trash and junk.

Perry Countians pay a yearly fee for recycling and solid-waste disposal and residents of cities and towns pay monthly trash-pickup fees. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent to provide solid-waste collection but people still litter. They still dump their junk in ditches. Others hoard bags of junk.

Perhaps Perry County should consider a yearly cleanup and provide dumpsters in locations across the county for people to dump their junk. Tell City, Cannelton and Troy already offer such events and another held county-wide might help eliminate some of the junk stockpiled in garages and basements. Some of that junk seems to find its way into ditches.

Some have suggested trash disposal be free, paid for by tax dollars in the same way police protection and other county services are provided. We’re not sure of the impact on tax rates and we would question the fairness of using public dollars to pay for hauling away of trash.

Perhaps some basic trash pickup should be provided to all residents but it would be unfair for the family who generates one bag of trash a week to pay the same fee as the family of six who fills four, five or six bags of trash.

We encourage the county to look at a yearly cleanup that would offer a chance for residents to dump off large items either at no cost or as part of the annul fee paid by residents. That might help lessen the problem.

But we’re convinced that part of any solution is beefed up enforcement of laws against illegal dumping. If caught red-handed, they need to be cited and if possible, arrested. They need to pay restitution for cleanup. A few hefty fines and public charges might change the minds of those still willing to dump and pollute.

If you see anyone dumping trash where it doesn’t belong, call 911.

Perry County hasn’t had its own dump for many years and trash is now transported to landfills and transfer stations in other counties. Our local roadsides are forests, not dumps.

To those in the majority who properly dispose of their trash and junk, we extend our thanks.

Our view: Editorials reflect the opinions of the newspaper.

Your view: Tell us what you think. Send e-mail to us at editor@perrycoun tynews.com or mail your comments to P.O. Box 309, Tell City, IN 47586.