Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Picking up Trash in Rock Creek Park (Updated)

In my daily forays (I call it "jogging," younger folks tell me it's "walking") in that jewel of USG national parks conservation, Rock Creek Park, I find that I can fulfill, in a small way, my humble duties as a grateful member of our Republic by picking up litter/trash there on a near-daily basis.

image from

My trash collections (rash recollections? -- no nightmares yet) begin as I "jog" down to the Park via Tilden Street (yes, I begin by going downhill; forgive my years) and ends with (very slowly), going uphill, at the entrance to the National Zoo (opening at 8:00 am), where I am freed of a sense of trash responsibility -- after all the Zoo has a clean-up staff.

On my way to the Zoo, I carry one of two plastic bags: a small one -- costs five cents at the local Giant supermarket; or a large one -- my favorite (ten cents). In these bags, I carefully place the litter I collect. After entering the Zoo, I drop the bag in the Zoo trash bin.

You'd be amazed (I constantly am) what I pick up while "jogging": Everything from rubber gloves to condoms, to plastic "water" bottles not infrequently filled with yellow liquid (urine?). No corpses/human bones yet.

But most frequent, aside from candy wrappers and plastic bottles: beer cans, wine bottles (oddly enough, with their corks on) -- and junk food paper bags, with their "napkins," plastic ketchup cups/eating utensils, "soda"/coffee containers with covers pierced by a plastic straw; such impregnated circular creations are a constant sight in 21st century America.

I should note that my clean-up efforts are mostly ignored by fellow joggers. One evidently nice lady, however, running far faster than I pretend to "jog," did say, some time ago, with what seemed like a smile, "thank you."


"According to MLAW's latest study — Leisure in Retirement: Beyond the Bucket List ... the majority of retirees say their enjoyment depends more on who they do an activity with than what they are doing. If the choice is between golfing alone or cleaning up trash with your kids and grandkids — most retirees will gladly throw on a pair of gloves and collect the garbage."

---USA Today, June 1, 2016

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