- Associated Press - Saturday, September 20, 2014

FORT MADISON, Iowa (AP) - Years ago there was a campaign to put a stop to litter, urging Americans not to be “Litter Bugs.” For a while it worked well, but now, according to one Fort Madison resident, there is a new generation of people using their windows as garbage cans.

Fort Madison resident Bill McGregor and two friends, spend several hours a week patrolling areas of the city, trash bags in tow, collecting garbage that has been tossed from moving vehicles.

“We pick up trash from 48th Street to Second Avenue,” McGregor told the Fort Madison Daily Democrat (https://bit.ly/1r2BPj0 ).

McGregor said when he picks up garbage from the road, it doesn’t end with cans and paper.

“One day I picked up a center section from a sofa,” McGregor said. “What if someone would have hit that?”

McGregor said that is just one example of dumping that goes on in that area of Fort Madison. He has removed three televisions from the roadway because the landfill charges a fee to take them.

“You’re always finding a big chunk of rubber,” McGregor said. “If a bicyclist ran over that it would cause damage to their tires, so we clean that up.”

McGregor said it is being done for safety reasons. He added that his job would be much easier if everyone would take a little time and do the same.

“If all our citizens would do this just think how this place would look,” McGregor said.

McGregor said every so often he extends his cleaning area down Highway X-23 and sometimes as far as Hillcrest Memorial Park.

“We’ll get a pickup load of trash doing this,” McGregor said. “We pick up everything from (fast food) sacks to dead animals on the road.”

In his time cleaning, McGregor said he has picked up car parts, large pieces of metal and even a commode.

McGregor said he knows a man who complains a lot when he helps McGregor, saying “I don’t get paid for this.” McGregor reminded him that he is repaying for any services ever done for him.

Along with trash removal, McGregor mows and removes weeds. He said he has rental properties around town where he does the same thing.

And what does his family think?

“I embarrass my wife and granddaughter because I stop and pick this stuff up,” McGregor said. “This means Grampa is uncool, but I don’t care.”

McGregor said on occasion law enforcement officers will stop and ask what he is doing.

“The young fellows ask why I’m pulled over and I say, ‘I’m picking up trash. You want to get out and help?’ They always say ‘Good work,’ and ‘Keep it up,’” McGregor said.

McGregor said some people laugh at him.

“They say, ‘Times must be pretty tough. You have to pick up cans,’” McGregor said. “I point out that I pick up all the trash.”

This is not something new for McGregor.

“I’ve been doing this for 38 years and this is the first time anyone has said anything,” McGregor said.

McGregor said he doesn’t expect people to do what he does. He just asks them not to throw trash out of their vehicles.

“Maybe it would help if the city put up a few ‘Do Not Litter’ signs,” McGregor said.


Information from: The Daily Democrat, https://www.dailydem.com

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