Private companies and public taxpayers are spending millions of dollars to make Carmel beautiful. We are all, in some way, investing in new streets, new landscaping, new buildings and new parks.
So why do we — as a society — mess up our beautiful city of Carmel by throwing trash anywhere we please?
I don’t mean to complain about a little thing or try to make a bigger deal out of something that isn’t a huge problem, but I have noticed a lot of extra litter lately. And it’s to be expected as our city grows in population and density. But I’d hate to see us become as trash-strewn as Broad Ripple. I don’t mean that as a harsh insult to that part of Indianapolis. I love Broad Ripple. But it’s a problem and I’m just telling the truth.
I live in the Carmel Arts & Design District and I love the walkability. I go on bike rides or take a leisurely stroll with my dog and my girlfriend but it kind of ruins the walk when you see empty beer bottles everywhere. In my observation, i think it’s increasing. I’m noticing it a lot more. Especially along Main Street along the sidewalks and parking lots. Along Old Meridian and Range Line Road it’s gotten pretty bad too with motorists tossing trash out of vehicles.
The other day I saw some teenagers just toss their empty energy drink cans on the Monon Trail as they skateboarded away. I stopped my run and paused my music to yell at the kids to pick it up and they did. But I’m in my early thirties. I’m not supposed to be in full-on Clint Eastwood “Get off my lawn!”-mode just yet. But it’s really, really irritating.
So what should we do about this?
Inevitably someone will say the government needs to police this for us. But the government isn’t the answer for everything. We don’t need an increased budget for crews out picking up littler. There are plenty of trash cans in my opinion and with a few exceptions they are emptied regularly.
We need businesses and residents to police themselves.
The City of Carmel has a smartphone app called “MyCarmel.” You download the free app on your phone and click on “Issue to Report” and choose “Trash or Debris” and then the app will use your GPS location to actually send crews out to pick up the trash. If it isn’t exactly where you are at, you can click on the address in the top bar and change it. You can then take a photo of the problem and write a text note to let authorities know. If we all used this diligently when we see litter, trash and debris, we can efficiently clean up the city.
There are, of course, other solutions to explore. Juvenile offenders for crimes could be asked to pick up litter. If a business is constantly having its customers leave litter outside its property, the city could consider a process to warn and eventually fine businesses for not playing their part in picking up after themselves. But before we take those steps, I urge everyone to download this app on your phone and join me in letting the city know where litter can be found so we can clean up our streets.