Please don’t mess with Texas

The Don't Mess with Texas campaign has been in place for more than 30 years.

Courtesy of TXDOT

The Don’t Mess with Texas campaign has been in place for more than 30 years.

Caitlin Sullivan, writer

I have been adopting a path through the Woodlands Township since the eighth grade, and in that time I have seen some strange things left on pathways and the sides of roads:  beer cans, tennis balls, shoes, even the box for a flat screen tv. However, given the current state of things here I had hoped that there would be less trash, I was sadly mistaken.
While I think it is wonderful that so many people have been walking and biking on trails, and maintaining a safe social distance, I was surprised by the amount of wrappers and trash I saw on the trails. Did I somehow miss a news update that said we would no longer have trash collected? Unlikely. Was it too difficult for the person who tossed the trash onto the ground to keep it until they returned home? If it was, perhaps they should be spending more time walking.
Is it possible that with all of the chaos surrounding this pandemic people have forgotten such basic decencies as “throw away your trash?” For the sake of our future I certainly hope not.
So why is it that I saw more trash this week than I have in almost a month?
Although I admire people who wear gloves and masks while they run errands in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus, after picking up my 6th disposable glove I am quickly developing contempt for those who throw trash outside their car windows. I understand that this is a time where cleaning supplies such as bleach wipes are essential in protecting ourselves
from this virus. But throwing them out the window as you drive isn’t the best way to dispose of your dirty cleaning wipes. Despite what is apparently popular belief, discarding cleaning supplies onto the street is not what anyone means by “street cleaning.”
I’m glad that many restaurants and fast food places are offering take away options for those of us who are tired of cooking, but if those who choose this option would restrain from tossing their styrofoam cups, plastic straws, and lids out onto the side of the road I would be much happier.
Thank you.
I admit something positive came from picking up trash. I began to find rocks decorated with butterflies and sunsets, some even had words like “faith,” and “hope” to accompany their decorations. They were a nice surprise to find, and I do mean find because many of them were hidden under the plastic bags people were “kind” enough to cover the rocks with. Because nothing says encouragement like a plastic bag covering a thoughtful message. This was
probably the most disappointing thing about cleaning the path, because I had made the mistake of believing that we respect each other enough to pay attention to those around us.
I implore you to help be part of the solution, I’m not asking you to go out on pathways and pick up trash. But, if you are someone who drops a wrapper and thinks that it won’t matter because it is just one small piece of trash, imagine how much trash would be on the pathways if everyone did that. It doesn’t take much effort to save your wrapper disposal for home, and it will save people who
adopt paths a lot of time.
We are fortunate enough to live in a place with over 160 miles of
pathways and trails to enjoy during this time of social distancing, and weather that allows us to be outside,  so please respect the environment around you and do not let laziness lead to littering.