For more than 27 years, Don’t mess with Texas has been dedicated to educating Texans about the real cost of litter, because real Texans don’t litter. Through award-winning ads, statewide road tours, and true Texas pride, they go to great lengths to keep Texas litter-free.
The 25th anniversary Don’t Mess with Texas litterbag, which just came out, will feature a new design designed by McKinney resident Jenifer Oslter. Texans across the state submitted original art for the chance for their design to appear on the special-edition litterbags as part of the Texas Department of Transportation’s Don’t Mess with Texas Design A Litterbag contest.
You can find more information about this anti-littering campaign at dontmesswithtexas.org. This is a fantastic website with some good information and tools to educate the masses about litter control on our highways and roads. With Spring approaching and our beautiful, world famous wildflowers about to (or as we Texans say “fixin’ to”) blanket these scenic routes, now is the time to be more conscientious about keeping things cleaned up and clear of litter.
Last Spring I was taking a trip to Corsicana. It was March, and the Bluebonnets were breathtaking. A popular tradition in Texas is for families to take pictures of their children in the wildflowers. If you travel any major roads in Texas in March, you will see cars pulled over on the shoulder of the freeway with moms taking pictures of their babies. Yes, taking pictures with huge, loud tractor trailers huffing by. Not to mention, what is hidden in the tall grass. Rattlesnakes, scorpions, tarantulas, fire ants, sand burs, poison ivy, you name it. It doesn’t seem safe, really. I took pictures of my baby in the Bluebonnets at the lake on a blanket. It seemed safer. But, then, I do recall hollowing out a pumpkin and shoving her in it when she was just a few days old. I also put the top of the pumpkin on her head, likely on her soft spot. I hear that CPS (Child Protective Services) will babysit … for free … for years!
So, last Spring, on my trip to Corsicana, I was enjoying the scenery when I noticed that someone had taken a picture of their baby in the Bluebonnets on the side of the freeway and rolled up a disposable diaper into a ball and just left it there. The plastic on a diaper is very thin, but its certainly not biodegradable. It would likely be there forever. So, I went back and took a picture of it. I thought I’d send the picture to the people at dontmesswithtexas.org and they would probably think it was a good advertising photo for their website. I had a friend “tag” the photo. So it says “Don’t Mess With Texas … It’s Your Doody.” I hope they use it.
On the website, it mentions that the only three things you can litter with, legally, in Texas is ice, water and chicken feathers. I always thought that something biodegradable, such as a banana peel or apple core was legal to litter with. But, alas, the problem is that animals have such a keen sense of smell, they may go onto the road to check it out as a potential meal and get hit by a car. Apparently some people will actually swerve to avoid hitting a fluffy animal and injure or kill themselves. Mostly women, I believe, because we have feelings. And, cigarette butts seem to be the biggest hazard of all, and the most littered with. According to the website, since 2005, cigarette butt trash has increased by a whopping 42%. Perhaps with the new electric cigarettes, those numbers will decrease. Or, maybe not. I purchased an e-cigarette for my sister, trying to help her to quit smoking. I asked her how it was working out for her. She said she forgot it was an e-cigarette and flicked it out the window of the car.
Until next week….
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Real Texans Don’t Litter – Comedy Defensive Driving