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Picking up litter good for us all

We’ve all seen people out on an area highway or walking along a local street picking up trash from time to time. Some of these good-hearted people keep a more regular schedule than others, often returning week after week to patrol an area and keep it free of litter.

It’s certainly good exercise, and it’s also good for the soul, someone once told us. We believe that’s true — picking up trash can be a great way to give back to your community.

We were reminded of that this week when we received the results of Denton’s Stream Clean event.

This cleanup effort saw a total of 630 people give back by collecting more than 415 bags of trash and recyclable materials, officials said.

The volunteers filled those bags by working their way along 10 streams. The annual event is sponsored by the city Water Utilities Department and Keep Denton Beautiful to ensure the streams are clean of debris and to improve the appearance of the city.

Volunteers who took part in this year’s Stream Clean included college students and Boy Scouts. According to a news release from the city, students from three Denton high schools, the University of North Texas, Texas Woman’s University and North Central Texas College were among those who participated.

Borman Elementary School students and their families participated early. They cleaned a waterway near their school. That cleanup alone, officials said, resulted in a collection that filled nearly 30 bags with trash.

In addition to the bags of trash collected during the event, more than 70 tires and hundreds of large miscellaneous items were collected.

We applaud all the volunteers who took part in this year’s event — your work may do more good than even you realize. Picking up that trash not only beautifies the area, but it can also prevent pollution from fouling area waterways and reservoirs.

When litter makes its way into storm drains and drainage ditches, it eventually lands in area lakes, streams and rivers, organizers said.

Yes, picking up trash is a great way to give back — it’s effective, inexpensive and it’s something that just about everyone can do.

Which prompts us to ask: Why don’t more people do it?

It’s typical human nature, we suppose, to wait for someone else to step in and handle the dirty jobs, but it wouldn’t hurt most of us to grab a trash bag and get a little exercise filling it to capacity.

We all appreciate the hard work and dedication of those who volunteer at annual cleanup events and take part in adopt-a-highway programs and other organized beautification efforts, but we can’t continue to let them carry the load alone.

As results of the annual Stream Clean show, a concerted effort by dedicated volunteers can make a big difference.

Just think of what could be accomplished if the rest of us got involved.