Riverwalk Green Up

Bill Laberge, left, and Jim Hand were part of the volunteer group that helped spruce up the area around the Riverwalk during Green Up Day in 2014.

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Vermont needs our help

Want to help keep our state beautiful and green, make a difference and give back to your community? Participate in Green Up Day Vermont on Saturday. For the past 53 years, Vermonters have volunteered on the first Saturday in May to clean up Vermont’s roads and waterways, collecting tons of litter.

Litter is not just ugly; it poses a significant threat to the environment. The biggest culprit is plastic bags, bottles and food containers. Hungry animals might try to eat the remainder of the food in plastic containers, eating some of the plastic in the process. They cannot break down plastic in their intestinal tract, leading to death from obstruction of their intestines. Plastic bags can also get tangled around animals’ bodies or heads, leading to injury or death. Bottles containing chemicals can spill or leak, entering water supplies where they are ingested by deer, fish and many other animals.

So much of the litter along the roadsides is not visible unless you are walking and looking closely. The grass and weeds will partially cover it. I spent many hours this past weekend greening up a small section of road, and I never would have dreamed I would collect over 10 33-gallon bags of litter. Plastic bottles, cans, glass bottles, food containers, clothing, cigarette packs, bags of household trash — you name it, people have thrown it out by the road. The sad part is that about half of it was bottles and cans that could have been recycled.

You can help this Saturday or any day — if you’re going for a walk, just bring a bag with you and pick up the trash you see: It can make a huge difference. It is frustrating because you did not throw out the litter. But the person who did so is never going to come back and pick it up. The famous actress and comedian Lily Tomlin once said, ”I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody. “You are somebody, and you can make a difference to help keep our state beautiful and the wildlife and environment safe. Go to greenupvermont.org to learn more and find out where to pick up free green-up bags.

M. Kathleen Shaw

North Bennington


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