The reality is that we all produce trash but the question is, what do we do with it?

While I am JWAPing (Jogging with a Purpose) and picking up trash that other people thoughtlessly throw out the window of their cars, I am thinking, “Who are these people and why do they do it?”

Well, let’s look at some of the trash that I am picking up.

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Some are smokers, throwing out their butts (so as not to stink up their cars) and their empty packs. (Although I picked up a full pack yesterday. Perhaps someone who loves them trying to keep them from smoking?) Hopefully one of those butts doesn’t ignite a fire and destroy property or forests.

Some are coffee drinkers. There are lots of coffee cups.

They frequent fast food restaurants. They drink Big Gulps at Burger King or McDonald’s and throw the whole huge plastic cup out the window when done. They take their meal to go, eat it and, instead of taking the trash home to dispose of properly, they discard the trash on our streets, so as not to trash their cars, I suppose. Does that make them inconsiderate, selfish, lazy, careless?

They drink a lot of beer and liquor. Cans, little liquor nips and, especially, beer bottles are thrown everywhere (some breaking on impact). It appears that they are drinking while driving and don’t want to get caught with open containers if stopped by police, or have evidence of drinking that their parents can find? So does that make them deceitful? Hiding the truth? Dangerous on the road? Thoughtless to the consequences of their behavior?

Twice as much recyclable or deposit returns are found along our roads than trash that must go into the landfills. Obviously, these people not only don’t care about what our roads look like, but are also ignorant of humanity’s attempts to use as much biodegradable materials as possible and recycle everything possible, and minimize the trash in our landfills?

So if the trash I pick up tells us about the litterer’s habits and the possible motive of littering, how did they get that way? Did their parents not teach them to be responsible and careful to take proper care of their own messes? Do they feel entitled? Do they think they can use and dispose of whatever they want and expect someone else to clean it up? Did they see their parents being careless about maintaining the beauty of our roads, uncaring about preserving our environment, and thoughtless about those who have to clean up after them? I never saw my parents throw any trash out of the window and my children never saw me ever litter either. They would never think to do it!

So, which are you? If you are a litterer, shame on you! Do you know anyone who does? Shame them into stopping and teach them the right and responsible practices to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle (which is a topic for a future memo), but never to litter! Parents, teach your children well and children, teach your parents as well!

Let’s all be part of the solution and do our part to raise a generation who would never dream of littering but rather choose to save, restore and preserve our beautiful roads, towns, and earth!

Join us in this endeavor to Keep Somers Clean and preserve our environment and earth!

Meanwhile, as we wait for the litterers to catch up by getting educated and/or shamed into stopping littering, we have a lot of litter to pick up. The Citizens for the Beautification of Somers, Inc (non-profit) d/b/a The Somers Litter Task Force, is accepting any and all help! If every resident of Somers picks up in front of their house (and across the street if no one lives there) that would be wonderful! If anyone would be willing to walk up and down their street to pick up, especially for those who physically can’t, that would be fantastic! If someone would be willing to walk the roads that have no homes, that would be amazing! Some of our Somers service organizations, Somers Women’s Club, the Boy and Girl Scout organizations, the Lake Purdys Property Owner’s Association, and many individuals throughout our town have joined our efforts to provide cleanup on some of our roads during the spring and fall clean up months (April and November). There are those who have adopted roads, either officially or unofficially, such as the Nash family along Lake Road and City Carting along Route 100 from Route 35 to the Elephant Hotel and pledge to keep their roads clean all year ‘round.

Please consider joining us at least semiannually (spring and fall), if not on an ongoing basis in our efforts to Keep Somers Clean. We hand out cleanup supplies at town-wide functions. T-shirts are also available for a donation with the Somers Litter Task Force logo and the list of our sponsors on the back who are helping us promote our cause.

This year, with the help of any individuals and businesses who support us, we plan to announce to the high schools (where our Somers students attend) that we will give a scholarship to the student who demonstrates leadership in providing positive peer pressure to stop littering. We are asking the scholarship candidates to come up with a presentation for the elementary, middle and high schools to:

1) Create a successful campaign to prevent littering

2) Develop a method of catching litterers in the act

3) Suggest a consequence that, if enforced, would deter anyone from littering

4) Promote Reduce, Reuse and Recycle for all ages for the purpose of making people aware that they need to be responsible for preserving our environment as responsible residents of Somers and stewards of our earth.

Join us! Actively picking up and/or financially (which is tax deductible).

Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/SomersLitterTaskForce; email us: keepsomersclean@gmail.com; or call: 914-486-0355.

Events coming up:

• eWaste Recycling Day in cooperation with City Carting, 9 a.m.¬-2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, at SIS parking lot. There is a $5 donation per car.

• Somers fall town-wide cleanup the entire month of November. Sign up at somersny.com. Bags and gloves will be available at Elephant Hotel and Somers Library.

Annie Gullen is a member of the Somers Litter Task Force.