, Newburyport, MA


June 24, 2013

A lack of responsibility

Responsibility is something that should automatically be in us. However in today’s world, I observe many people not responding responsibly to that which is around them.

Some of the things I see are quite simple to cure. Trash that’s in the street that you observe for hours and nobody bothers to pick up. Observing in the area I live, I see papers stay on the lawn for hours, and wait to see if somebody else picks them up. Unfortunately they don’t.

A friend of mine eyed a piece of Styrofoam on her front lawn for over two weeks. She purposely waited to see if anyone in her building would try to pick it up and throw it out. After one more week, she picked it up and disposed of the refuse.

Another example is our use of public bathrooms. People feel free to use them, but never pick up after themselves. Used paper towels on the floor, toilets not being flushed, and toilet bowls being left filthy. This is always very discouraging to the next people who enter into these facilities.

The most discouraging aspect are pet owners who refuse to pick up after their animals. Week after week the residents in my area see people walking and letting their dog do their business, then just walk off. Not to be prejudicial I observe that men more often than women do not carry the proper equipment to pick up after their pets.

Recently, I took a road trip to Piermont, N.H., and could not believe the number of people throwing gum wrappers and coffee cups out their windows. How much energy does it take to keep a trash bag in your car and empty it when you make a pit stop!

Last but not least are the people who smoke in non-smoking areas and drop their cigarette remains on the ground. If the sign says no smoking, then why don’t they go to a smoking area that is nearby?

All of the items listed above are our duty to rectify in order to be an essential part of the world that we live on belongs to us.

Dag Hammarskjold, former head of the United Nations, said, “A task becomes a duty from the moment you suspect it to be an essential part of that integrity which alone entitles a man to assume responsibility.”


Sara-Anne Eames lives in Newburyport.

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