Today's what-are-they-thinking news release comes from the Department of Natural Resources, which reports its conservation officers are finding "various types of refuse" being discarded along Minnesota roads and waterways.
"We're seeing everything from wooden fish house blocking materials on lakes to old appliances in roadway ditches," said Col. Jim Konrad, DNR Enforcement Division director, said in the news release.
CO Jeff Humphrey of Cromwell just completed a litter investigation where numerous bags of household trash were dumped along a rural road. The contents were revealing.
"In this case they made significant effort to remove labels with names and addresses from their garbage, but I found a child's name on a piece of homework and a wrist band from a local hospital," Humphrey said. "A few phone calls and I identified my suspect."
The reasons for their actions were likely economics.
"They said they did not have garbage service and usually take their garbage to their employers to get rid of it," Humphrey said.
Sometimes a citizen helps a CO solve a litter case. CO Jeff Johanson of Osakis recently issued a citation to a man caught on a trail camera dumping waste on private property.
The individual was always very careful about removing items with any sort of identification on them. Finally, the property owner had had enough, put up a trail camera, and was lucky enough to get a guy and his vehicle on the camera littering.
"With the electronic evidence, the interview went pretty smoothly and the guy admitted to it right away," Johanson said. "I made him clean up the waste and issued him a citation. Of course, he knew nothing about the countless other times things were dumped there; must have been somebody else."
Assignment: Send me your photos of the junk you find on the side of the road, on the ice, or in the wild.
Where is Iron Eyes Cody, now that we need him?
I grew up in a town with municipal trash collection. While there was still littering, it was far less than in the town I currently live in where it is the property owner's responsibility to contract trash collection.
"Yes, sir, Officer Obie, I cannot tell a lie, I put that envelope under that garbage."
What we need is a stack of 8 x 10 color glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one.
Referring to these miscreants as pigs is an insult to Sus scrofa domesticus, which is certainly more respectful of it's environs, and possibly more intelligent.
I recently took an old, broken microwave oven to the recycling location identified on my county's website.
The cost was $40.
It is not surprising that more trash--including larger household items like furniture and appliances--are not ending up where they need to go for proper recycling and/or disposal.
I have an old spare tire from a pickup truck that was converted into a cube somewhere. The tire place will take the tire, but they want to charge me $20 to take it off. But they won't take the rim.
The scrapyard will take the rim, but they can't (or won't) take the tire. It is frustrating.
Last year my St. Paul area had at least 2 weekends where anyone with proof they lived in the correct boundaries were able to bring their odd garbage items for a small fee ($5/car, $10/van or truck). Best part of it was watching our old couch, worn to shreds and attacked by squirrels, be crushed in the compacter.
I'm not sure how many communities offer a "spring cleaning" as great as this, but I'm definitely rounding up items in hopes they do it again.