I don’t often get on my high horse, but something that continues to bug me is the problem some people seem to have with littering.

I can’t drive anywhere anymore without seeing trash everywhere -- not just paper but plastic and everything in between.

A simple one-mile drive between Riverdale and my home on Highway 501 south reveals the tattered remains of a heavy plastic sheet caught last winter in the tree alongside of the road flapping in the breeze.

People are just far enough away from a fast food restaurant to deposit paper bags, empty plastic cups and straws in ditches along the side of the road.

I have to remind myself laws are in place to prevent littering, but I can imagine you almost have to catch someone in the act, and therefore the law is hard to enforce.

If you litter on public or private property in Virginia, you can be convicted of a criminal misdemeanor charge punishable by a maximum fine of $2,500 and up to 12 months in jail.

The problem is not confined to our area, as on a recent trip to Richmond, an entire embankment was covered in trash.

I realize that littering can be accidental, such as times when bags in the back of pickup trucks get picked up by the wind and are blown over the side.

It’s gotten to the point where I stop and pick up litter in my yard and that of my neighbors, and I sometimes even go into the median strip or across the road to pick up litter that I have to look at through my living room window.

Are there greater pressing issues today?

Of course there are including the continuing decline of civility, political pettiness and a continual unwillingness to compromise.

Another issue is lack of respect, and that includes respect for someone else’s property.

Membership in the Halifax County Improvement Council’s Adopt-A-Highway and Adopt-A-Street programs are just two ways area residents are trying to keep the county clean, but feel free to take time and pick up litter in your own yard.

Drivers can keep litterbags in their vehicle and tie down or use a tarp while hauling trash in order to prevent litter from blowing out of your vehicle.

I’m not one to hand out public service announcements, what people do at home is their business, but when I continue to have to pick up the remnants of a fast food meal tossed into my yard, it becomes personal.

Personal enough to use column space for this message.

Doug Ford reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at dford@gazettevirginian.com.

Doug Ford covers news and sports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at dford@gazettevirginian.com.