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Bypass Trash
by Shauna Lee


October 24, 2004

Last week I walked along the new 3rd Avenue bypass for the first time.  I must say that the views are absolutely breathtaking!  It was a gorgeous clear day and you could see for miles down the channel and across Gravina and Pennock.  I stood there, marveling at how lucky I was to live in such a pristine place.  And then I looked down.

In the ravine below me were empty coffee cups, grocery bags, various pieces of household trash and old construction cones that were broken and discarded.  I could not believe it!  The bypass has barely been open to foot traffic and already people are tossing their trash over the fence as if it is their right!  Do these people not realize that they are littering into a person's back yard?  I was stunned at the extreme disregard for another person's property and for the beautiful environment we live in.

To those of you who have walked along the bypass and carelessly tossed your empty cups and bags over the fence, please STOP!  If you don't have enough respect for yourself to treat the landscape with care, then have respect for the people who have to either pick your trash up from their back yard or those that have to look at it while they are trying to enjoy the view. 

I think that an appropriate punishment for those littering would be to purchase a community trash can that could be posted along the 3rd Avenue road.  I noticed that there weren't any in place as I walked - not even at the parking area.  It's obvious that we need several placed along the route so that those people who are too lazy to carry their trash with them will have a place to ease their burden.  Perhaps in addition to sponsoring community flower baskets, the city could have a "sponsor a trash can" campaign.  Surely that would help to beautify Ketchikan as much as any flower basket would.  As long as people are willing to use them!

And if you ever catch somebody littering, either while they are walking or driving, don't hesitate to report it to the police!  I have done so before when a group of kids tossed trash from their car and it landed on mine while I was driving behind them.  The driver and one passenger were contacted and went to court where they were fined for the crime.  I'll bet that they don't toss garbage from their car again!  One phone call can teach somebody a great lesson that the entire community can benefit from.

Shauna Lee
Ketchikan, AK - USA



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