As we move into fall, garden activities begin to pick up again. Some don’t-miss events this month include:
- Delta Fair, Aug. 31-Sept. 9: If you did not get your entries into the horticulture contests in time, you can at least scope out your competition for next year and see what it takes to win a ribbon for yourself.
- Strawberry Plains, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 7-9: For a fun day trip, venture off to Holly Springs, Miss., for the 2018 Hummingbird Migration and Nature Celebration. In addition to learning all about hummingbirds and being able to interact with them there are several speakers presenting programs about raptors, conservation, native plants, Native tribes of our region, bird watching, natural sciences and reptiles!
- Lichterman Nature Center in September: Not that you need an excuse to visit Lichterman Nature Center, but they will have a seasonal treat beginning Sept. 7: Scarecrows! See the creations that local groups have crafted and find out who won for best school entry, greenest, most creative, best critter and most popular scarecrows on Sept. 14.
- Native Plant Conference, Oct. 25-28: Sign up for the Native Plant Conference sponsored by the Memphis Horticultural Society by Sept. 5 for their early registration discount (event to be held Oct 25-28).
With cooler weather and a lot of outdoor activities there is increased travel about town, and as a result we unfortunately see more litter in streets and parking lots. I recently became a first-time truck owner and learned quickly that anything placed in the bed of a truck that is not covered or secured can easily be whipped out of the bed by winds as you travel. I sense that many truck owners think of their truck beds as a magical trash receptacle. Just toss in your fast food wrappers and by the time you get home they have magically disappeared.
According to Keep Tennessee Beautiful, along roadways, motorists (52 percent) and pedestrians (23 percent) are the biggest contributors to litter. Research also shows that individuals under 30 are more likely to litter than those who are older. In fact, age, and not gender, is a significant predictor of littering behavior.
Why do people litter? Here is what the Keep America Beautiful (KAB) 2009 National Visible Litter Survey and Litter Cost Study found:
- Personal choice. Individual behavior – or choosing to litter – means litter on the ground. Nearly one in five, or 17 percent, of all disposals observed in public spaces were littering. Thankfully, 83 percent disposed of litter properly. Of those who litter, 81 percent of littering was intentional (e.g., flicking, flinging or dropping).
- Litter begets litter. Individuals are much more likely to litter into a littered environment. And once there, it attracts more litter. By contrast, a clean community discourages littering and improves overall community quality of life. Availability and proximity to trash and recycling receptacles also affect whether someone chooses to litter.
- It’s “not my responsibility.” Some people feel no sense of ownership for parks, walkways, beaches and other public spaces. They believe someone else will pick up after them, that it’s not their responsibility.
The Bartlett Public Works Department supported by good leadership does a great job in keeping our city streets clean. However, this is costing all of us for the poor behavior of a few. Remember that litter left on our streets will get swept into storm drains and ditches when it rains, only to end up in our waterways, lakes and oceans.
What can we do to help?
1. Let’s all pledge to be more conscious of litter and, when possible, clean it up.
- When jogging or walking for exercise, take along a litter bag and pick up any trash you find.
- Business owners/managers assign daily grounds and curb litter cleanup to an employee.
- Don’t leave circulars or sanitary cart wipes in shopping carts left in the parking lot.
- If you see trash in a parking lot, pick it up and dispose of it when you enter the store.
2. Take action and report when you witness littering from vehicles.
- Memphis City Beautiful provides 52-CLEAN (522-5326), a 24-hour phone line to enable concerned citizens to report motorists who improperly dispose of trash. Phone reports should include: The license number, vehicle type, date, time and location, as well as a description of violation witnessed. Offenders will receive an official warning letter detailing criminal penalties associated with littering, along with a brochure about the problem of litter and a litter-bag for their car. Concerned observers also have an on-line reporting tool at memphiscitybeautiful.org/services/52-clean-littering-motorist-hotline.
- A resource is also available for state roads. Call toll-free 1-877-8-LITTER or use their online litter hot line at tn.gov/tdot/environmental-home/environmental-highway-beautification-office/litter.html.