Give A Hoot. Don’t Pollute; South Shore Woman Swats Litter Bugs |

Give A Hoot. Don’t Pollute; South Shore Woman Swats Litter Bugs

It took 67-year-old Anita Donohoe more than three hours to walk from 15th Street to 10th Street on Thursday.

Five blocks is normally no problem for the exercise enthusiast, but Donohoe wasn’t just walking. She was picking up trash along the way – and plenty of it.

Nobody told her to do it. Nobody expects her to. She does it completely on her own accord.

On any given week day, Donohoe can be seen walking up and down the bike trail and along State Route 89 doing her part to clean up the environment.

A 13-year resident of South Shore, Donohoe has taken the issue of littered streets into her own hands.

“I’d be out walking and I would look at all of the trash on the bike trail and I’d say, ‘That’s terrible.’ ” Donohoe said. “Then finally I said to myself, ‘Pick that up. Don’t just say it’s terrible. Pick it up.’ “

An avid walker, Donohoe no longer times herself to monitor how fast she’s going.

“I don’t even know how fast I walk anymore,” she said. “It used to be important but now it’s not. When I used to time myself I never really paid attention to how terrible the problem was.”

Everything from aluminum cans to socks to cardboard boxes has seen the inside of Donohoe’s trash bag.

“I’ve picked up diapers before,” she said. “One time I was walking off the bike trail and there was a toaster and a coffee maker with the wires all cut and they were just shoved under a tree.

“One of the things that amazes me is you’ll find the empty containers that beer comes in. They’ll just leave the cans and the box. What I don’t understand is, they brought it out there when it was full, heavy. Why not take it back when it’s not heavy?”

Donohoe thinks picking up the streets may prevent people from future littering.

“If you pick it up and it looks nice and clean, it kind of takes away the permission for someone to throw their trash,” she said. “I don’t know if trash begets trash or what it is.”

After three years of self-appointed trash patrol on the bike trail, Donohoe began collecting along State Route 89 this year.

“This is the first year I’ve done Highway 89,” Donohoe said. “It took me 3 1/2 hours (Thursday) to go from 15th Street to The Cantina on 10th Street because there was so much trash. There’s still a muffler lying there. I’ll probably go get it in my car. So right now I’m kind of concentrating on the bike trail and 89. I normally leave people’s neighborhoods alone. They should care enough to pick it up on their own.”

Donohoe usually takes the weekends off and enjoys walks around her neighborhood. Then she does double duty on Monday.

“Monday is the big day because of all of the tourists over the weekend,” she said.

When asked why she’s so dedicated to combining her daily exercise and environmental consciousness, Donohoe didn’t hesitate to respond.

“I just got tired of looking at all of that trash. We’re kind of custodians of Earth and I think it behooves us to take care of it,” she said. “I almost feel like apologizing to the trees. I just think this is such a beautiful area. Every road into Tahoe is so pretty. I feel very fortunate to live here, and I just want to keep it as clean as I can.”

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