Most homeowners are familiar with going to their front yards and picking up trash left by passing motorists.
Similarly, community groups like the Boy Scouts can be seen clearing debris from roadside ditches.
Very few of these groups, however, are aware of the danger that can exist in doing these seemingly routine tasks.
Officials with the West Central Solid Waste District, operators of recycling programs in Putnam County, are warning the public that items used in making methamphetamines can be among the pieces of debris dumped in roadside ditches.
Fuel containers, needles and flammable liquids are among the items used by makers of these illegal drugs that can pose a serious risk to unsuspecting residents.
"We go into schools and child-related organizations and we're always telling people to pick up litter and clean up roadsides," WCSWD Director Jane Collisi told the BannerGraphic.
Unfortunately people have been injured, including serious chemical burns, while picking up these items.
At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28, West Central officials will host a seminar offering tips and safety training for residents and community groups that they hope will lessen the risk of injuries.
Crawfordsville Police Officer A.J. Rice will discuss his experiences in a 90-minute presentation at the Putnam County Courthouse Annex, 209 W. Liberty St., in Greencastle.
"There is a high probability that people are going to come across these items that have been thrown out," Rice told the BannerGraphic.
He said he is aware of several cases in Montgomery County where people have been burned by items they found along the road.
Rice said he hopes to teach people how to protect themselves and to know when to call police if they suspect something suspicious.
"They need to know that if certain things come together, it should send up red flags," Rice said.
During his presentation, Rice will show pictures of meth labs and some of the items used in making the drugs, as well as offer some history of the drugs and how they affect the community.
"People don't realize this affects every part of the community," Rice said.
Collisi said she hopes community groups and teachers will attend the seminar and tell others what they learn.
"We're just trying to tell the leaders of these groups what to look for," Collisi said.
The class is $3 per person if paid in advance or $5 at the door. To make a reservation, call the West Central Solid Waste District at 653-2150.