SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Keep Ketchikan Clean
By Marie-Jeanne Cadle


February 03, 2008

I remember growing up in Washington state with litter all along the highways and roadways. I also remember Washington's 'Keep Washington Green' campaign and how successful it was. Granted nothing is perfect and some people will always be thoughtless or selfish and will continue to litter without regard or respect for anyone other than themselves, but overall the 'Keep Washington Green' campaign was a success. It reminded us of what should have been common sense: take pride in where you live and respect others by keeping the state clean and we will all benefit.

While the campaign did (and still does) carry stiff fines it was a campaign that addressed the culture of the people of the state instead of just punishing them. It started at the top, with the people in power and in a position to affect change, recognizing the importance of a cleaner state. This was then communicated to all parties from government to individual citizen. Not only was there a major ad campaign, but government officials, educators and law enforcement included were impressed with the importance of this and tasked with making it happen. Washington realized, like so many places, that keeping the state clean isn't just a matter of personal pride there are very detrimental and expensive economic consequences to a dirty state, not all obvious.

Ketchikan is facing those consequences now with a downtown that is nearly empty, with a population that is overall stagnant, with difficulty enticing high end industry here. Cities that are growing and attracting industry are those that have revitalized themselves including cleaning themselves.

Mr. Cegelske and others can make all the noise they want but until our city and borough leaders realize the value of a clean community they will sadly never get anywhere. Who cares about art on pilings when you have to wade through trash to view it? Who cares about a beautiful waterfront promenade or wants to shop downtown when you have to step in dog poop to just to get there? Who wants to hike our beautiful trails or walk our amazing beaches when you have to wade through someone else's garbage to do it? And most importantly who wants to bring an industry here when they see a community that is so dirty? You can spend all the money on art and arts, senior centers, homeless shelters, aquariums, etc you want to make this a better place to live, but making it a better place really starts with each of us respecting others and the beautiful place we live.

People with respect and pride don't litter, don't vandalize, don't steal. Less money spent alleviating these things means more money for other things.

I know this won't make me points with many locals, but having lived in several other communities in Alaska and traveled extensively throughout the state, I can easily say that Ketchikan is the dirtiest town I have spent any time in. This is a community of wonderful people (it's what keeps me here) that are so amazing in the support they show each other that it always surprises me that many show so little respect to others in how they deal with their garbage.

Marie-Jeanne Cadle
Ketchikan, AK

Received February 03, 2008 - Published February 03, 2008


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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska