Bright Spot: Man on a mission to keep roadways clean

Man on a mission to keep roadways clean
Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 5:27 PM EDT
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Plymouth, MN (WFSB) - A senior citizen is on a mission to clean up litter in his community, and he’s hoping it’ll serve as a teachable moment for future generations.

Doug Eichten doesn’t have his own garbage truck, but still covers a lot of ground.

“There’s no excuse because there is no accidental litter.”

Armed with his nifty nabber grabber, the 77-year-old walks a busy, two-mile stretch of road in Plymouth, Minnesota several times a week.

Doug has been doing this for six years and was inspired by the roadside trash he was seeing while visiting Florida. So, he got his own stretch of road back home.

“They put Doug Eichten on the sign, and I said let’s put “and friends” because I’ll find people.”

And he does find help, but more often than not, Doug works alone.

Each week his goal is 15 pounds of trash, and quite often he picks up even more.

“Nothing surprises me with this trash thing anymore. The volume of it continues to be unbelievable,” Eichten said.

He has found soda cans, beer cans, cigarette boxes, fast food boxes and even clothing.

Doug has also picked up a few lessons along the way.

His main reason for doing this isn’t to make the roadways look good, but to help the environment. “All of this stuff, on a decent rain, goes into the storm sewers, into the ponds, into the creeks, heads for the Mississippi. It endangers wildlife. It’s more about that than it is the look of it.”

So, he marches on, hoping to set an example that doesn’t go to waste.

“You can complain about these things, or you can do something about them.”