The city of Fulton, Ill., is a beautiful place to live. It is a safe place to raise a family and an excellent source for windmill viewing. The city of Fulton, along with its residents, should be extremely proud.

But on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday of each week, our city should be ashamed. You see, on those days of the week, leaf burning is allowed.

Leaf burning is a very dangerous and outdated way of disposing of your leaves. When a person sparks up their pile of freshly raked leaves, tiny particles are sent into the air. Those tiny particles contain carcinogens, and carcinogens cause cancer. If inhaled, these tiny particles can remain in the lungs for months or even years. This is particularly harmful for small children and the elderly, not to mention people with asthma and other serious lung conditions.

While health hazards are a very important reason to stop leaf burning, they are not the only reason. Leaf burning can also reduce visibility, create safety hazards, soil buildings and create additional demands on our police and fire protection.

Luckily, there are other, less harmful ways to dispose of leaves. Composting is a great alternative. All you have to do is pile up your leaves, mix them around, and before you know it, you have wonderful mulch to use in your gardens and flowerbeds.

Another alternative method of leaf removal is shredding. By simply leaving the leaves where they lay, you can run over them with your lawn mower. This causes the leaves to decompose in the yard, which leaves you with a springtime lawn so lush your neighbors will be green with envy.

If you don’t like those choices, our fine city has another option lined up for you. On Tuesday nights from 5 to 6 p.m. you can take your bagged leaves to the water treatment plant. You can buy your bags at Brinkman’s, right here in Fulton. The bags cost $7.50 for a package of five.

But why would a person pay $7.50 to dispose of their leaves when they could just burn them for free? Because leaf burning can kill you and the average funeral costs about $5,500. I’d say the bags are a pretty good deal.

Residents of Fulton, I ask you to take a stand with me and encourage our city to ban leaf burning. It is harmful for you, for your families and for our environment. If you don’t do it for yourselves, do it for your neighbors.