On the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s website, visitors will find a cute children’s game called “Litter Hunt.”
Youngsters are encouraged to search a drawing of a children’s playground for unwanted litter and click on the offending articles: magazine, can, shoe, soda bottle, paper bag, cereal box, six-pack ring, soda can and candy wrapper.
If all nine pieces of litter are located, the child earns a picture of an “Enviro Detective” badge. The litter actually is not so easy to spot. The cereal box blends in with a sandbox post. The six-pack ring hides among stones. The candy wrapper lies atop sidewalk bricks.
The soda can looks like part of a swingset crossbar. The regular can rests among gazebo shingles. The magazine hangs upside-down on a gazebo panel.
Over on the slide, the soda bottle rests upside-down along the ladder. In one tree, a bird flies over the paper bag. In the other, a squirrel perches near the discarded shoe. It takes concentration and a little luck to find the trash online. That certainly is not the case with real trash. This time of year, after the snow melts, we see a whole panorama’s worth of litter.
It has accumulated in yards, parks, parking lots, pastures and fields, and along sidewalks and roadsides since the first snows of winter about four months ago. It is not pretty. It takes no skill whatsoever to spot it. But it certainly will take some effort to get rid of it.
How about a real game of “Litter Hunt” where residents of Grundy County combine their daily walks with a hunt for trash? Simply carry a trash bag along, bend over and pick up some of the litter you see, take it home, and discard it. The exercise will do you good, and, hey, we’ll be happy to declare you a winner.
That, coupled with sustained efforts by communities, clubs, organizations, and units of government – and a commitment by litterbugs to mend their ways – could make litter much more difficult to spot. We’d like the looks of that.