Tis the season to be jolly, but, unfortunately, it also is the season to be “trashy.” It is true that the Christmas season brings many wonderful things to us — family gatherings, a spiritual uplift, a reminder of mankind’s goodness. But it also brings a significant increase in litter.
During the holidays, the average amount of garbage generated climbs dramatically. There’s more leftover food and discarded decorations from holiday events and parties, plus plenty of paper products from wrapping and unwrapping gifts.
The combination of excess garbage and people on the run — attending events, shopping and holiday travel — also means more incidences of trash being purposefully or accidentally tossed or blown from vehicles. A friend of mine always says, “Never trust someone with a really clean car or truck — they might keep it that way by littering!” I hope that is not always true, but it does make you wonder.
Our roads are “decorated” every day with motorists’ litter. Some people don’t think twice about tossing trash out their windows while others just don’t take the time to secure thing things blowing around in their truck beds. Trucks and other vehicles with unsecured loads probably account for more than 60 percent of the litter that accumulates on roads.
This litter does not just spoil our scenery. Road debris can have a severe impact on wildlife that mistake it for food. Even those folks who innocently toss out leftover food, apple cores or banana peels may be causing roadkill because the food lures wildlife and even loose pets to busy roads.
Litter also eventually can end up in our waterways, affecting the water quality. Roadside litter is one of the most persistent causes of water pollution. We have many creeks, streams and wetlands throughout our county that constantly are affected by the litter created by thoughtless citizens. The easiest way to reduce water pollution is for each of us to dispose of trash responsibly.
Litter and debris can also cause serious road hazards. According to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, roadway debris contributes to a number of fatalities each year in Georgia. Cracking down on drivers with unsecured loads is one way to increase motorist safety.
Community cleanups alone cannot eradicate litter. The heart of the issue lies in personable accountability. If you generate trash — and we all do — then dispose of it responsibly. As a community, we have to hold those who litter accountable.
We all share a responsibility in keeping our community beautiful. Garbage and other items in vehicles should be secured. Let’s give the best gift ever to ourselves this Christmas — a clean and beautiful community!
Upcoming Keep Liberty Beautiful events:
Dec. 1-31: Win-dex Award nominations are open for this quarter. Nominate your favorite attractive businesses. For more information, call KLB at 880-4888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.