I read Reynolds Dodson’s column [“Thoughts While Picking Up Other People’s Trash,” The View East, April 3] and also had a very pleasant conversation with him regarding litter and the problem on the East End. I live in East Quogue and the situation on Old Montauk Highway, between East Quogue and Hampton Bays, is a ?disaster, even to the extent of old sofas and used tires being dumped along the road as well as the usual garbage bags, 7-Eleven cups, cigarette boxes, ?cups, etc.
I moved here from Manhattan, and I am in Manhattan two to three days a week. Unfortunately, I find the sidewalks of Manhattan cleaner than the sides of the road out here. The Town of Southampton is good about cleaning up the roads it has jurisdiction over; however, the Suffolk County ?Highway Department has been nothing short of non-compliant when I have asked them to participate in cleaning up. Their answer is “Yes, we know there is a problem, but we have other ?priorities.”
I have personally spent many hours, and garbage bags, picking up litter from smokers and beer drinkers who feel a sense of entitlement to just opening up their window and tossing out whatever they please. As the father of a 14-month-old, what a terrible example for future generations. I am so offended by the callous disregard litterers have for the beauty of our area and the environment.
What I would propose is the following:
1. Doubling or tripling the fines for littering.
2. Making people who are fined help with the cleanup.
3. Mandating that homeowners clean up their property line adjoining the road for a minimum of 20 feet and extending across the road if that area is uninhabited.
4. Increasing the sales tax on people and businesses, because that is where the “litter” is purchased (7-Eleven, McDonald’s, take-out food establishments, etc.) and using the money for litter cleanup.
5. Using community advertisement and public efforts to clean up and not litter in the first place.
6. Installing cameras to view the roads (just as they do to catch speeders and red light rule-breakers).
I agree with the PBS show slogan: “Respect nature by leaving it as you found it.”
I very much appreciate Mr. Dodson editorializing about this issue. It is one that will make almost everyone happier to live and thrive out here on the East End.