LETTER TO THE EDITOR: More suggestions for the hay-wrap trash problem

The “County-Wide Bad (W)rap” story about the plastic-netting hay wrap litter in the Feb. 27 edition of the Times caught my attention. I had some research to do at the Stone County Public Library in Galena and so watched the roadside especially for examples of plastic hay wrap – and saw them.
I do know something about the “self-cleaning” pickup truck and litter in general. Pickup trucks are believed to be the single largest source of highway litter.
My mother’s generation (born 1901) went barefoot not only because “wading” shoes did not then exist but also because our streams and woods were litter-free. By the time I came along, broken glass and rusty cans ruled, both in the streams and at sites frequented by deer hunters. I have seen refrigerators, stoves, mattresses and box springs, entire cars and ubiquitous tires all dumped in multiple streams. We who reside along Bryant Creek also keep looking for some missing bodies.
Eventually, outside forces came into play and, coupled with rural depopulation, improvements in littered streams resulted. However, the “self-cleaning” pickup truck remains as a Vested Right rural people possess – along with not wearing seatbelts. Laws and not even fines have little effect.
Two things can be done. First, the license fees on pickups need to be increased with the increase dedicated to litter control. Second, much trash comes adjacent to fast-foot places. They should be taxed additionally as well. A third, more narrow possibility, is to add to the sales tax on plastic hay wrap.
My Uncle Charles North was known first as “Mr. Compost,” appearing on the cover of Organic Gardening, and then as “Mr. Clean” because every morning as he drove his pickup truck into town he stopped to pick up trash. Go and do likewise until you get the hang of it (Luke 10:37).

Michael B. Dougan

Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
Fax: (417) 679-3423