LEWISBURG — A wet and rainy Sunday morning discouraged a handful of volunteers from the Sierra Club of northeastern Pennsylvania from going out to pick up trash along a two-mile stretch of Route 15 in Union County. did not.
The Sierra Club is Pennsylvania’s only member-led, statewide environmental organization that believes in the need to protect open spaces, clean water and natural resources so that current and future generations can enjoy them. I’m here.
There are nine active community groups throughout the state that explore, enjoy and protect the state’s many environmental resources and fight for safe and livable communities.
One way to help our members reach these goals is by volunteering to pick up litter along highways twice a year.
Beverly Menne of Middleburg and Carolyn Barrier of Montoursville worked along the southbound route of Route 15 near Furness Road and within an hour had already filled several black garbage bags with dumped garbage. was fulfilled.
“There’s a disgusting amount of trash,” Barriet said. “I can’t even believe what people throw out their windows. People should be ashamed.”
Items like plastic bottles are one of the worst things Balliet sees whenever she volunteers.
“Plastic water bottles break down and release microplastics,” she explained. “Then when it rains, those microplastics are washed into water sources. It can ruin your health.”
There are fast food containers and wrappers, pieces of furniture that could fall out of a truck unnoticed, and even car parts.
“Such debris is something we don’t think about,” Vallier said. “When a car crash occurs, debris is left on the side of the road, but it is not always cleared.”
Volunteers must be careful and take precautions to avoid injury in order to do their job. They wear bright neon vests and post signs along the highway to make sure they are always facing oncoming traffic.
In addition to picking up litter, the Sierra Club hosts educational events, writes letters to local and state representatives on environmental issues, and the editor of the local newspaper.
“This area is huge,” said Mene. “But we are really short of volunteers.”
Only about seven people came to pick up the trash, and Barriet said there was “too much” trash, so it was unlikely the entire two miles would be cleared.
People driving by may not realize how much trash is on the roadside.
“One time there was a sofa cushion that must have fallen out of someone’s car or truck, but the lawnmower came and shredded it, and it was just a mess,” Menne said. says Mr. “I can’t see it when I drive by, so I’m always amazed by what I find.”
“There’s something buried under the grass,” Vallier said. “And sometimes the local government cuts the grass, but that just shreds things up, which makes it even harder.”
Still, Barriet said it was important that the cleanup took place and that it was one of the few events the club could run on an ongoing basis since COVID hit.
“We were limited in what we could do,” she said. “We’ve been really crippled by COVID.”
The Sierra Club is always looking for new volunteers. Interested parties can find out more at the website sierraclub.org/pennsylvania.
Even if you don’t want to be a member, Balliet encourages everyone to consider joining an initiative to keep roadsides clean.
“Whatever your beliefs about climate change, don’t pollute,” she said.