Keep It Clean, Manchester

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Stand up. Speak up. It’s your turn.


As a father of two kids who love to be outdoors, one of the first things you teach your children when outside is not to litter. Not only is it hazardous to the wildlife and environment, it is also unappealing to the eye. Ask the hundreds of fishing fanatics in the state what it can be like going to your favorite shoreline to wet a line. One man’s trash is another man’s responsibility to clean up.

The issue here however, is more specific. We have signs all over the state about fines and penalties for people who litter, and yet, I feel like they are not enforced to their fullest. One can argue that the local police force around the state should be dealing with hard criminals, not enforcing laws against litter. There won’t be much of an argument from me when that is brought up; however, a law is a law.

Macro cigarette litter. Image by Marith

Driving through Manchester in recent weeks, one can’t help but notice the abundance of cigarettes discarded at every intersection in the city. By no means is this an attack on cigarette smokers. It is, however, an attack on where these butts get disposed of. There should absolutely be stricter laws targeting people who throw these stubs out vehicle windows. It is extremely unappealing when one is stuck in mid-day traffic, at a red light, and notices hundreds of discarded cigarettes strewn across lane dividers. Not only does it look bad, but they, too, are detrimental to wildlife and the landscape.

How many brush fires each year are caused by discarded cigarettes? There may not be a number, but we can assume many.

Think about the financial resources that go into containing a brush fire, small and large. Could harsher penalties for discarded cigarettes help prevent brush fires? Not all of them. Stopping one, though, could make a huge difference and save dollars. In a time where Manchester is on the cusp of booming in business, looks will be everything when it comes to maintaining a strong work force.

Keep it clean Manchester. Greater issues are prevalent in the city, but you must set a good example to your inhabitants, that you want your city to be beautiful and thrive.

Beg to differ? Agree to disagree? Send your submission to Carol Robidoux at, subject line: The Soapbox.


Kevin Lee is married with two children and studies political science at Southern NH University. Although he no longer resides in Manchester, it the city where he grew up,  and where many of his family and friends still work and live, which brings him back to the city often and keeps him caring.