Editorial: Seriously, you’re leaving that there?

07/28/2011 5:02 AM |

As the risk of sounding like an angry schoolmarm, why is it so difficult for some folks to put garbage where it belongs?

As reported in this week’s edition, the town is awash in trash dumped here, there and everywhere — except at the Cutchogue collection center. No, we’re not going to point fingers at those “summer people,” a non-homogeneous group often tagged as the root cause of any number of seasonal ills and difficulties. Slobs are a universal species found in abundance everywhere and their behavior is not necessarily connected to their place of birth.

The trash barrels placed at road ends, particularly near beaches, aren’t there to accept large amounts of household trash. Some years back the town put covers on many of them with small openings to limit what’s dumped. Ah, but clever creatures, these slobs. They just put their garbage on the ground nearby.

Is it really that much of an inconvenience to take your trash with you and dispose of it where it doesn’t scatter across the road or beach or attract any manner of hungry and curious critters?

Perhaps some visitors aren’t aware that Southold, unlike most of the rest of the metro area, doesn’t have municipal trash pickup. Perhaps they’re used to leaving stuff by the street. To clear up any confusion, trash disposal hereabouts is the individual’s responsibility. There are two basic disposal options: take it to the collection center yourself, either in yellow town bags or by paying a per-pound fee and driving it over the scale, or pay a company to cart it away. The road end cans are a convenience designed to keep the beaches clean. They’re not mini-regional collection facilities.

There’s no small amount of irony in all this. One of the main reasons people live here and visit here is that it’s unlike burgeoning suburbia found not that far away. We have farms and beaches, but as a small-town, still rural community, we have no public trash collection. So leaving cups and cans and bottles and plates and what have you all over diminishes the town’s appeal and character, part of which is the ability to forgo costly suburban services such as public garbage collection.

Bottom line? Don’t be a slob. It’s that simple.