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February 19, 2005

People tired of trash not limited to 'my generation'

A turn in the conversation the other day brought home the fact that I'm not the only one who is upset by the growing problem of trash in our little community. I had thought that only my generation was unhappy about the situation, but that was because most of the people I engaged in discussing the problem were from "my generation." Now I know that other, younger folks are also disturbed.

The facts are, paper, plastic and other types of litter are being tossed out of cars driving along city streets, or simply allowed to blow around trash bins anywhere you look. The net result is, our town looks like a landfill in progress. Pretty soon, we are going to be buried under a load of garbage if something isn't done.

The person I was talking to was born here and grew up here. This has always been her hometown and she was proud of the many features that have always distinguished Perry. Now, however, the trash problem is causing real concern. "When I was a kid," she recalls, "we never let trash accumulate on or near our property. Mother taught me that. If it was trash, it was picked up and deposited in a trash receptacle. There wasn't a dirty yard in town. Now, however, just drive around and you will soon discover that every block has at least one trashy yard. The result is, visitors see us like that and it leaves a negative impression. This used to be such a really neat, clean-looking town. It's not now, however."

So, what has happened? Why do we not have that attitude? We should be out picking up litter instead of fastening our eyes on the TV garbage that now is offered to us by the networks and the cable stations. And many of the fast food places are guilty of adding to the problem by failing to clean up around their property, allowing trash to blow into the nearest neighbor's yard. There's enough guilt to go around. We all contribute to the problem by allowing it to develop. Didn't used to be that way.

Even the civic clubs and others who formerly joined in the "Keep America Beautiful" program seem to have lost interest and no longer help out. Maybe this could be tied to the "work release" program that city and county jail prisoners once made possible. Maybe they still do, but it doesn't show.

Whatever it takes, let's hope something happens soon. Or does it bother you to be an uncaring resident of what used to be one of the cleanest, neatest towns in Oklahoma? Perry people have the pride to do the right thing when it counts. And it counts right now, believe me.