LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Planting seeds of obsession

Editor,

I would like to publicly confess to having an obsession with trash! This obsession started innocently enough when Janelle Grant invited me to be a Keep Miles City Beautiful Board member. From my work with Janelle and other KMCB volunteers, I started noticing litter more and more and began to make small efforts to pick up items if they were conveniently located. Then, I got to know Julie Jordan, who impressed me with her example of walking every day with bags for trash and recyclables. OK, I thought, if Julie can do this for her neighborhood, I can follow her excellent example.

So, I started walking Horizon Parkway with a garbage bag in one hand and a trash grabber in the other, sometimes coercing family members to go with me.

As my obsession progressed, I started noticing the massive amount of garbage from the underpass on the Broadus highway to Southgate. I called the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) to find out if there was a plan in place for litter removal. They do have a volunteer organization that cleans it a couple times a year and the MDT does weed removal but the volume of litter exceeds their limited resources.  I asked permission to give them a hand.

They did not refuse my request, so my niece and I took a three-hour trash walk and collected eight bags of trash! I spent another two hours a week later and gathered another three bags. Though I realize the trash will quickly accumulate, it gives me a sense of pride to know I made a difference, however fleeting.

My dream is to plant the seed of obsession in others and have an army of individuals who take it upon themselves to keep Miles City litter-free. As the current executive director of Keep Miles City Beautiful, I would be happy to lend you gloves, trash bags and trash grabbers or simply offer support from other litter-obsessed individuals who want to make a difference. You can find contact information by visiting www.keepmcbeautiful.com and please like us on Facebook.

Sue Stanton

Keep Miles City Beautiful, Executive Director

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