Driving around the mall and along Commerce Road Monday, we were saddened by all the trash strewn about the green spaces. Someone had partially mown the mall's acreage, but no one bothered to pick up the trash beforehand, which made the scene even worse.

Our sheriff's department's clean team was out in force along Martha Mitchell Expressway Monday, and they do a good job. But it's up to us to keep our city trash-free. We never have understood why some people think of the roadside as their personal garbage can. Do these folks throw trash out in their front lawns? As we get ready to move our city forward, one important thing is getting rid of the litterbug mindset.

Is it really that difficult to resist the temptation to throw something out of a car window? Just keep an old plastic grocery bag in your car and stuff trash in there until you can find a proper refuse disposal bin. They are at every gas station, car wash and most any other business in town. Or just wait until you get home.

When people tour our city from out of town, they look at these things as quality of life issues. If, say, a CEO of a multi-national corporation wanted to open a satellite office here in Pine Bluff, would he want to move his workers into a place where heaps of trash are piled everywhere?

We don't think so.

Every city deals with litter in some form or another, but it seems to us that Pine Bluff has more than its fair share of litterbugs. It all boils down to respect — respect for one's self and respect for one's city. Perhaps we have a greater issue at hand here in our community. Perhaps people just don't take pride in what we have here and in what we are trying to build. And perhaps that's why they want to trash it any chance they can get, either verbally or physically.

How do we change this mindset? How do we instill pride in those who have no pride for their city? Those are questions we have long pondered. If you have any answers, please let us know. About the only thing we can do is teach people around us not to litter. If you have kids, please tell them that littering harms our community. If you have a friend who litter, tell him the same thing.

Our hope is that we can clean up our city one day soon and be rid of the litter scourge.