Fire hazards left behind
July 21, 2009
I went with my honey and his friend fishing to the Meredith side of Ruedi Reservoir recently. I was happy to just sit in my chair, soak in the sun and nature, and even went for a dip in the wonderful water. I started taking pictures of the mountains, the lake and flowers, and there they were – cigarette butts; several here and there and then a bunch in one pile. When these smoking fishing persons left this spot, they took their fishing equipment, their kids and dogs, chairs and cooler, but why didn’t they take their obnoxious butts? These must be the same people who throw their cigarette butts out their car windows. Do these people open the windows of their homes and throw their butts out into their yard? Maybe they just crush them out with their foot on their carpet.
Although it has been very obvious for a while, I am glad to read the city of Aspen finally acknowledge publicly that there is a garbage problem here. It is a problem throughout the Roaring Fork Valley and all along the highways in Colorado. It has upset me enough that I have taken up stewardship of the 100 yards of frontage road by my home. There are three businesses there whose proprietors do not seem to take any responsibility to keep the area beyond their front door clean, and so I have spend many hours over the last 11⁄2 years cleaning up the garbage left by people using their businesses. One of the businesses is a gas station. It is frightening to think of the potential disaster that could happen from a single cigarette butt.
I hope that elected officials continue to publicly address the garbage problem. They are concerned about what is being dumped into our water; they should also be concerned about what is being dumped next to our water and to the sides of the roads. I recently took a car trip through five states back East. It was shocking to me to realize that the state with the most garbage dumped on the sides of the roads is Colorado.
The condition of Aspen’s recycling center is not in sync with their mission of environmental responsibility, nor is the condition of our streets and highways. When tourist dollars are all we have to keep our town running, it is important that all aspects of our community are at its best. Please take responsibility for your trash, and don’t take lightly the dangers of fire from a careless smoker. The Roaring Fork Valley will eventually recover from this recession. It may not be able to recover from a devastating fire.
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