Monday, November 16, 2009

Litter and the Litterers

On Saturday, The Mister and I took part in a 'clean-up' at Callville Bay at Lake Mead. The original Callville is under Lake Mead. It apparently was only ruins when the lake was created by Hoover Dam, being off the beaten path, as it was, and next to a river with 'difficult navigation' in the nineteenth century.

The National Park Service and the resort concessionaire that runs the marina partnered in sponsoring a project to pick up trash on land and underwater. The Mister used to be a diver, but hasn't for years, so we were on land litter patrol.

The Mister with about half of what he and I collected, brandishing his trusty litter-picker!

Some of the litter was wind-borne (I hate plastic shopping bags!) and some was trash left behind by careless picnickers and campers.

And probably under-aged drinkers. We meandered up and over a hill and came upon the 'mother lode' of litter! Beer cans with old fashioned pull tabs and new ones that hadn't been there long enough to fade.

We collected litter for two hours, along with about 80 other folks, so alot of trash was removed from the landscape and underwater. There was much head shaking a tsk-tsking about litter-bugs and careless campers.

Callville Bay is about 45 minutes from our house. Not far, but we decided to stay overnight in the 'rv park' (five spaces at the end of the year round mobile home park). We recently upgraded from our 20 year old truck camper to a 10 year old, short, fifth wheel camper and were anxious to try it out! The Mister went out early in the day, so he could get it all set up before dark (which happens at 4:45, this time of year and we are not even to the shortest days!) I came out later, after work.

After the litter pick up, we ate lunch with our group, then packed up the camper and headed out. The Mister was leading, pulling the camper with the pick up and I followed in my car.

We had gone less than a quarter of a mile, and two trash bags flew out of the bed of the pick-up. We had taken a box of bags in case there was a shortage (which had happened on a different clean-up outing) and left it in the bed of the pick-up.

Well, after picking up trash all morning, I couldn't leave big black trash bags to litter the side of the road, so I pulled over and hopped out and grabbed both. Around a bend, The Mister had pulled over to wait (and to get the box out of the truck bed, I hoped!) As soon as he saw me coming, he pulled out and headed down the road again. And another bag flew out of the truck! He had no idea why I was stopping!

So, I pulled over, hopped out and grabbed it, jumped back in the car and headed back down the road. About 300 yards down the road, a black trash bag was in the ditch and another in the middle of the road. So, I pulled over, hopped out, grabbed the bags, jumped back in the car and drove to the next bag around the next bend.

This scene repeated seven more times until I caught up with him, pulled over a couple of miles down the road. He had finally seen a bag come out of the box! He said it went out of the box, up and over the tailgate in a flash. He wasn't even sure what he had seen, but then remembered the bags. I pulled up with a huge pile of trash bags in the seat next to me, relieved to see the box in his hand!

The road we were on is about four miles from the lake shore to the main road that goes around the lake. I was praying that he would figure out what was going on, or that the box would empty before we got to the perimeter road! Luckily, there was no traffic where we were, because the road was very winding. That is why he couldn't see what I was doing, and I couldn't catch up with him to flag him down with a trash bag! If any one had been watching, though, I am sure it would have been a funny sight!

But, at least we didn't litter!

(Dearest Sister and her guy don't even use plastic water bottles! I can't imagine her 'shock horror' if I hadn't been able to collect the bags! See all of our 're-use and recycling' efforts at our Etsy shop - AtomicSisters )


Lynne said...

Hurrah for you and the Mister for helping out with this important chore! I hate litterbugs! I just don''t understand why people have to litter. Why would anyone throw stuff out their car windows and just leave their trash behind after fishing, camping, hiking? I don't get it.

I hate taking the dogs down to the pond near our house to find empty styrofoam bait containers, fishing line, and assorted "left" junk by the water's edge. Disgusting. Take it home with you people!

Here in NJ people are really bad about littering. Now is one of the times per year that highway clean up goes into action to remove the roadside trash before the snow falls. They do a pretty good job of it, and it will happen again in spring before the bushes fill in.

Iron Needles said...

This was one had me laughing, because I was visualizing the whole thing! Did you 'hustle' to pick up the trash bags??

Good on you for litter picking up, and picking up your own litter!

Martha said...

You and The Mister are very good citizens to get out there and pick up that litter. I agree with you about the plastic grocery bags -- in Mexico they are everywhere.

That's such a funny story, and you're a very good sport. I love it that he kept stopping for you, but then would pull out as soon as he saw you -- I'm glad he finally figured it out.

Gaynell said...

Thanks for the chuckle! I can picture the routine...and it is funny!

Allie said...

LOLOL - that would make a funny movie!
Kudos for the clean-up - I see people throwing stuff out their windows all the time, and it makes me crazy. Someone's been ditching their fast food lunch garbage in our ditch for about a year now. We can't seem to catch them.

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

I agree with one of the previous comments--what a hilarious movie scene this would make!

Thank you for doing us all a service in picking up after "some of us" who are not so considerate. C

Anonymous said...

Cell phone?