Driving around the North Country — which I do a lot — I’m often amazed at the amount of junk and trash that local folks accumulate in their front yards.
There’s a glaring contrast here.
We live in a profoundly beautiful landscape, and we like to tell ourselves that we who live here are its best stewards, the ones who love it most and can care for it best.
But then your eye catches on the derelict cars, the scrap, the garbage, often right in the midst of our neighborhoods, or sitting in shameful piles along rural highways.
Over the years, local officials have tried to push back against this carelessness.
The town of Moriah, according to the Plattsburgh Press-Republican, is currently organizing a massive clean-up, a kind of garbage amnesty that will go on for three days.
“We’re trying to get the town cleaned up,” Moriah supervisor Tom Scozzafava told the Press-Republican.
“We need to do a better job of educating people. We want people to show pride in their community and clean up around their homes.”
Obviously, this problem isn’t limited to our region. The Burlington Free Press is reporting this morning on an effort by Vermont officials to force a Milton resident to clean up a mountain of more than 200,000 old tires.
[Property owner Gilbert] Rhoades has been doing battle with the state for seven years and has faced allegations in civil court that he operated an unlicensed junkyard, ran an unlicensed solid waste facility and released toxic materials like lead, antifreeze and oil into the ground when he dismantled cars.
This kind of thing is obnoxious. I wonder if there would be popular support for more stringent enforcement of health and safety codes?
What if proud North Country towns that have an interest in strong, vibrant futures made it clear to garbage scofflaws that they’ll be ticketed and fined, or see their properties condemned, if they don’t dispose of their trash properly?
What have you experienced here? Do you have neighbors with a big pile of junk in the yard? And how about yourself? Do you have a guilty scrapyard on your property that you haven’t found time to clear away?
Comments, as always, welcome.