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Chuck Levin: More and more trash despoiling community

To the editor:

Great to see a lead front-page article addressing the problem of trash in our community (“Mill River troubles,” July 16). Fine as far as it went, I would like to see a fuller expose about the scope of this vexing problem. In my quiet and beautiful neighborhood off of Loudville Road, Easthampton, I have picked up well over 100 Jim Beam bottles, nearly as many Budweiser cans, and wine cooler cases and generic trash of all sorts this season. Virtually every single day brings new trash. I abandoned my sojourns to my favorite local swimming hole last summer after it had become overrun with alcohol cans, bottles, and litter.

But my neighborhood is by no means unique, and Mill River isn’t either. And that’s the tragedy. How depressing to live in such a paradise and witness it becoming so trashed. A littered landscape has become the “new normal” and the onus is on anguished landowners to clean up — constantly — after the destructiveness of others. When one sees your neighborhood as nothing more than an open air dump and defaces it, that’s a kind of violence that shouldn’t be tolerated and I suggest our culture has been tolerating it too long. Serious thought needs to go into providing facilities for people to dispose of their waste, but also into broader more comprehensive solutions: a meaningful expansion of the bottle bill, education and significant penalties calculated to deter littering and a commitment by law enforcement and the courts to enforce them.

Chuck Levin


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