Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Please Don't Mess With Texas

Today eight out of ten Texans know what the term "Don't Mess With Texas" means. In 2005, about 71 % knew what the warning meant. If someone is caught "messing" with Texas, it could cost them in fines totaling up to $500.00. "Don't Mess With Texas" means don't litter our highways, streets, and county roads.

In 1987, our family moved here to Gingerbread Town. We found a wonderful home in the country. When we first moved here, our road was beautiful. Our home was surrounded by green farmland. In the spring, the yellow and blue wildflowers overwhelmed the roadside from one end to the other. I imagined I lived in a fairytale. The abundant flowers reminded me of the poppy fields in the Wizard of Oz movie. After living in the West Texas desert for eight years, we were estatic about our little bit of paradise.

On an average, non-rainy day we had only a few people driving up our mostly deserted, dirt road. I don't remember trash on the road to be a problem. The biggest problem we had was the rain turning our dirt road into a hopeless sea of muck. Sometimes, after several inches of rain,the mud would be so bad that we would find ourselves totally cut off from civilization until the swamp dried out.

Now, fast forward to 2010. We are no longer only one of two families living on our isolated road. There are several mobile homes to the east of us. Back to the southwest is a subdivision with approximately fifty beautiful new homes. The drivers that zoom by our house seem ignorant that the speed limit is only thirty miles per hour.

The beautiful wildflowers that once delighted us in the spring have been replaced by beer bottles, fast food containers, soda cans, and blankets of desintigrating newspapers and cardboard. The sight has been making me ill for awhile now. Sunday I decided I would do something about it. Taylor and I drove to the entrance to our road right off the interstate. This area is about one sixteenth of a mile long. I thought we could clean this stretch of road up in about twenty or thirty minutes. NOT......One hour and twenty minutes and seven lawn and leaf plastic trash bags later we were still picking up trash from this same area.

I kept thinking to myself that it was a shame that all the people that now live near us have to live with the mess that probably only a few thoughtless people created. But, when I researched the "Don't Mess With Texas" site, I learned that today seventy-five percent of Americans admit to littering sometime in the past five years. That is so sad to me. I love my state....I love my road......When my friends come to visit, I don't want them to be greeted by a garbage dump. Gee, I don't want to be greeted by a garbage dump.

How do other states deal with the problem of littering? While my research stated that it is not as bad as it used to be, I'm seeing litter everywhere along our highways and county roads. I'd appreciate hearing your thoughts on this subject!!  

No comments: