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Trash problem should be taken seriously

the Nevada Appeal Editorial Board

The problem of littering that Publisher John DiMambro wrote about in his column on Sunday is acute in Northern Nevada.

That problem is not just the paper, plastic and other trash caught up in the sagebrush. It’s the message it carries about the people who live here. City planners know the importance of first impressions and have long range plans to make Carson City’s downtown a place that inspires love at first sight. But if people have driven through miles of otherwise beautiful countryside that now conjures up images of a landfill, then no plan is going to be successful in making a positive first impression.

The term “pride of ownership” is often used by real estate agents to designate good neighborhoods where people take care of their homes and surroundings. The litter that blows around empty lots and wild areas within the city sends the opposite message about our community.

People like Brian Doyal, featured in Monday’s paper as president of the Pine Nut Mountain Trails Association, are part of the solution. His club is holding a trash cleanup on Saturday. Other groups, including the Kiwanis Club, have done the same thing. All of them prove that this is a place where people have pride.

While we applaud these groups, we hope there’s ultimately a better answer than relying on upstanding citizens to serve as maids for the slobs. Everything should be looked at, including higher fines, tougher enforcement and a statewide adopt-a-highway program.

And we should look at ourselves as people who can set examples for others. We can report violations to the city when we see them. We can pick up trash on our daily walks with our children, and maybe they’ll set an example for their friends by doing the same.

All of these things combined may be successful in making this a place where a real and strong sense of community pride isn’t concealed by a landscape of trash.