The photographs that accompanied the April 14 Metro article “Taking the bloom off the blossoms ” showed mounds of trash surrounding stationary trash cans during the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Clearly most people carried their discards to the appropriate places but found that the small, permanent cans were not sufficient to meet the event’s needs.

Robert Vogel, the superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks, could address such needs easily without adding manpower or worrying about trucks. All that is needed is to pre-position additional temporary, attractive, heavy-duty cardboard, recyclable 30-gallon trash cans around the existing permanent trash sites. These are inexpensive, in ready supply and considerably easier to manage (and cheaper) than picking up trash by hand after the event.

Event managers pre-stage portable toilets, so why not also supply adequate trash cans? It’s about responsible planning.

Susan G. Larson, Ellicott City

The April 15 Metro article “Staffing to blame for Mall mess” overlooked the true culprit: We all are to blame for not having city, state and national bottle refund laws. Many enlightened countries and 10 states benefit from laws that reduce litter and protect the environment. The District and the surrounding states should lead an effort to have such laws become a national priority.

Ron Lehker, Washington

It has been a success for the District to charge for plastic bags, so isn’t it time we banned plastic water bottles? Other cities have done this. The pile of trash on the Tidal Basin was appalling, and Washington should take the lead on educating visitors about using reusable water bottles. We may need to install fountains that make it easier for bottles to be refilled, but that would be much cheaper than disposing of all that trash.

And many kudos to 9-year-old Sebastian Bush, who took it upon himself to pick up some of the litter on the Mall, for being such a good citizen. As a resident of the waterfront, I thank him.

Shirley Buzzard, Washington

I traveled from Winchester with friends from Scotland on Sunday, arriving downtown about 8:30 a.m. We were horrified by piles of garbage and trash all over the grass. What a way to showcase our capital to visitors. The massive crowds around the cherry blossoms and on the Metro were understandable, but not those mountains of trash. Surely the Park Service can do better.

Every year Winchester has an apple blossom festival in May, including parades on Friday and Saturday. Tens of thousands of people come out. Everything is cleaned up and pristine by 7 a.m. each day. Granted, that’s tiny compared with the National Cherry Blossom Festival, but you’d think that a city the size of Washington could marshal better resources than it did over the weekend.

Nancy A. Mills, Winchester