We must do more to clean up Washington

After a long road trip, I’ve decided Washington is the trashiest state.

LtE bug

Dear anyone who gives a damn about the great littered state of Washington,

I just completed a 3,300-mile road trip through Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, California, Nevada, and Washington. Along the way my navigation system would welcome me to each state. This morning around 7 a.m., returning home, I was welcomed to Washington. Moments later I thought, “Welcome to the filthiest, trashiest state I’ve been in this past two weeks.” The minute I entered Washington on Highway 205 North, the trash began. Words cannot convey my anger and just plain disgust as I moved toward I-5, which was just as bad, if not worse.

From 205 North onto I-5 North to Highway 212 to Highway 410 East, I counted 21 complete tires, a dumpster full of rubber tire remnants, four coolers, 15 full trash bags, loads of styrofoam, tons of plastic, paper, pieces of cars, 10 orange traffic barrels in the vegetation, and one mattress as I exited to Highway 512 toward Puyallup. The only thing missing was a flock of seagulls. I tried to focis on the beauty of the trees and outer landscape but me eyes were constantly drawn back to the trash.

I traveled hours on some of the most remove and congested highways on my trip and didn’t see enough trash to fill one large black trash bag.

More revolting, the very worst display of ignorance and lack of pride was on I-5, just on the opposite side of our state capitol in Olympia. In a blue tarp encampment the trash was so thick you couldn’t see the ground. I’m sure some of our government officials have to travel this section of I-5 on a regular bases, aren’t they embarrassed?

The “Adopt a Highway” idea is a failure and don’t blame COVID because I wanted to write this letter years ago. I was just passively hoping it might get better, not worse. However, this time I was smacked hard because Washington is such a steep contrast to what I saw in our beautiful neighboring states.

Yes, I am furious and a bit embarrassed to call Washington my home. “‘The Evergreen State’ my ass,” I pondered as a piece of trash flew into my windshield.

So what are you, we, and I going to do about it? My first step was to write this letter and send it to every government official, newspaper, and anywhere else I can draw attention to this conundrum. I am also going to do more here in Enumclaw.

What are you, our government and the rest of us citizens of Washington going to do? Don’t say there isn’t any money or time — there has got to be ways to solve this situation. The other states don’t have this deplorable state of affairs.

Have we no pride? Let’s use the media, the courts, guilt, law, something, anything, please!

Again, the “Adopt a Highway” is an inadequate ad campaign. We need to do more, and now.

Sheila Shannon


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