I’m going to keep this short and simple. Spring weather brings many people outside after a long, dreary winter, and right now, many people are visiting their local nature parks and other natural areas, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic has shut down other forms of entertainment. Because of these shut downs and the call for social distancing, many of the workers who typically take care of these natural areas have been told to stay home as they are considered non-essential workers. If this is the case in your region of the country/world, please keep in mind there is no one to clean up after you should you choose to go outside for some exercise. Be prepared to take your trash home with you should you generate any on your outings. This includes drink bottles, food wrappers, baby diapers, pet waste, and all the other garbage commonly created while you’re trying to get rid of your cabin fever. Plastic bags don’t look so bad for the environment now if they’re being used to carry out whatever trash people may otherwise be tempted to leave behind, do they?
A word of caution, however: if you find yourself tempted to pick up other people’s garbage while you’re out, remember to wear protection. Heavy-duty work gloves are a must. You need to protect yourself from sharp edges (such as found on broken glass bottles) as well as from germs. Beware the unsavory items which may contain biohazards: needles, condoms, etc. If you can’t pick it up safely, don’t touch it at all! And plan ahead – make sure you have somewhere to take and properly dispose of any garbage you collect.
With the increased foot traffic in our natural areas, thoughtless negligence and disregard threatens to turn them into unsightly dump sites. If you enjoy your local parks and are utilizing them during these unusual times, please help to care for them. If you wouldn’t trash your own front yard, then please don’t trash your community spaces either!