My wife and I and another couple recently took a road trip to the St. Lawrence River in Quebec to watch whales. We saw quite a few of these large, gentle creatures, ate well and enjoyed the beautiful scenery and great people. However, when we crossed the international border from Edmundston, New Brunswick, to Madawaska, we noticed a great change, and it wasn’t Belugas swimming in the potato fields of Aroostook County. No, it was the incredible amount of roadside trash.

All four of us are avid cyclists and as such, we are subjected to the disgusting amount of detritus along the roads here in central Maine. From “nip” bottles, to beer cans and bottles, to fast food wrappers and cups, to plastic bags, paper trash and returnable beverage containers, the amount of stuff thrown out of car windows in this part of our world is overwhelming. It almost seems like no one has waste containers in their vehicles or at home any more. Doesn’t anyone want to make money on those returnables?

This is even more distressing when one reads of the environmental impact that this waste has, not only here but on the world as a whole. By some accounts, by 2050, there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish. Check that fact out as you drive across the Waterville-Winslow bridge and see all of the plastic wrappers ready to be blown into the Kennebec to float downstream.

In Canada, we saw hardly any roadside waste. The areas in which we traveled are just as rural, just as economically challenged and just as beautiful as our own state. And yet, the residents are seemingly much more thoughtful for, and caring of, their surroundings; why can’t we have the same respect for our environment?

I know that there is no simple answer to this issue, but I hope that those of you who read this letter at least think a bit before you toss your Dunkin’ Donuts wrapper or Bud Light can out the window as you cruise down Lakeview Drive, Route 3 or any other local road. It will be better for all of us in the long run.

Bob Bennett

South China

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