If you have ever traveled from the Brunswick Basin out to Highway 174 via Brunswick, you may have noticed a great deal of litter along the roadway. The majority is from material that flies out of Waste Management trucks en route to the Loma Rica station.
It is making this section of Brunswick Road look blighted. People coming into the area from out of town via this route may get the wrong impression.
How do I know that most of the litter is from Waste Management trucks? I have been behind them and see material fly out from the top. I travel this route twice a day. The trucks congregate at the Loma Rica station so this is a feeder road for them. Other areas of the county do not have so much trash along side the road. Why, then, is this section of road so impacted? Because it lies along the route to the transfer station.
In addition, most of the litter is material that would become airborne from swirling air in the back of a truck, such as plastic grocery bags, etc. Very little of the litter is denser material, such as bottles or cans. I know this because I picked up six grocery bags of trash from Brunswick Road. One time I even found a credit card statement alongside the road. Who would throw that from a vehicle?
If I get caught littering from my car, it is likely I would get fined, and deservedly so. If I drive a load of uncovered trash to the McCourtney dump, I am subject to a $500 fine.
Why is it that Waste Management can get away with this impunity?
After having picked up six grocery bags of litter, only to see the same area filled with litter 30 days later, I became frustrated and gave up.
At first, Waste Management was cooperative after I called them and had two employees pick up the litter. This was early 2013. I called again in late 2013 and said they would try to work on it. I saw no subsequent improvement. I called again a few weeks ago and was told they were pretty busy and not sure if they could get somebody to do pickup duty. I know when I am being strung along.
It is depressing to see such a beautiful area of road blighted by litter. The solution is not complicated — Waste Management has to be less greedy. The company reported sales of $13 billion and had net profits of $817 million for the most recent year-end.
Tom Behlmer lives in Grass Valley.