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Editorial: Spring cleaning

With less and less visible snow on the ground, it’s apparent that spring is ... finally ... on its way.

Soon, the grays and browns of dust and dirt will be replaced in many places by a carpet of green, be it grass or other vegetative matter.

But the melting of the snow has left another, less pleasant, sight — that of litter.

No longer does that white carpet hide the thoughtlessness of those who toss their trash out of their vehicle window or drop it on the ground once they’re done with it. To be fair, not all of the papers and such were dropped or dumped intentionally. Sometimes during the course of the winter, the wind has carried off papers or plastic left in a recycling bin awaiting removal.

What’s also been exposed are places on sidewalks or in the green belt where dogs have answered nature’s call.

All of this, the discarded plastic bottles, pieces of paper, cardboard, aluminum cans and parts of cars or what-have-you, is an unattractive addition to the landscape of our communities, whether it’s along a busy thoroughfare or an isolated part of town.

Along with being a mess, it sends an unintended message to visitors to our communities, one that the people living there don’t care about their surroundings.

But we know that’s not true. We know that the people living in any of the Franklin County towns care very much about where they live and how their communities are perceived. That’s one of the reasons, for example, that communities like Greenfield, Turners Falls, Shelburne Falls, etc., spend time, effort and money to make the entrances into their business centers, their downtowns, more attractive.

Regardless, we urge residents of all county towns or villages, not to wait for others ­— the municipality or community-minded volunteers — to clean up the litter.

Everyone can do their part.

Begin by policing the grounds around your own home, then think about expanding your reach. If you go for a walk, take a trash bag and pick up some of the litter that may nestled against the curb or on the edge of the sidewalk. Think about organizing a cleanup effort around a school, church or some other common area.

It might just be the kind of thing an organization or a school sports team might consider doing as a community service project.

If everyone does their part, then the issue of litter won’t be a negative reflection of the community, but rather an example of personal responsibility and community pride.

Spring cleaning is calling, and it’s time for all of us to answer that call.

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