Ah, the Fourth of July in Washington -- fireworks, brass bands, picnics ... and tons of garbage left on the Mall.

Frankly, I was disgusted at the waste and carelessness of the crowd that packed the Mall on Wednesday -- particularly because I suspect many had jumped on the Earth Day bandwagon in April. Although the city provided glass and aluminum recycling bins at the picnic sites along with the conventional garbage cans, most of the garbage wound up where it normally does -- on the ground.

Caring about the environment means more than wearing an Earth Day T-shirt. Caring about the environment means taking the extra five minutes to pick up trash and recycle. I ask those hundreds of thousands who left their garbage all over the Mall on the Fourth, not to let the environment become just another trendy cause. I ask them to make a concern for the environment a real part of their lives. DIANE M. JACKSON Washington

As I crossed the 14th Street bridge on July 5, I saw how messy the Mall looked. It was covered with trash and debris from the Fourth of July celebration. Do the people who attended the event only care about the Earth and its environment if someone else does the work? If each person would pack a trash bag with his picnic or use the barrels provided by the U.S. Park Service, Washington would reflect an attitude of love and concern.