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Keep Liberty Beautiful: Why you need to know about NPS
Karen Bell
Keep Liberty Beautiful Executive Director Karen Bell.

Dr. Karen Bell

Keep Liberty Beautiful

At Keep Liberty Beautiful, we have a policy regarding the “R Word.” We never say it! Since most of our events occur outdoors, the weather plays a crucial role in determining whether an event can happen. The “R Word” refers to rain, and when it does occur, we assess the severity of the weather to decide whether or not to proceed with the event.

One of Keep Liberty Beautiful’s major events is conducting cleanups throughout the year. We are almost done with the Great American Cleanups for 2024. One GAC is still scheduled for May 18 at Bryant Commons, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. We also collaborate with volunteer groups such as our Adopt Liberty program, which is growing every year, and we want to express our gratitude to the groups and individuals who support this program. Adopt Liberty groups work on weekends to clean up the community, and so far, they have cleaned up 55 miles of roadway each quarter. However, Liberty County still has more roads and ponds to clean up.

When the “R Word” happens (rain), the litter on the ground gets carried away by the water. The ponds in our cities, such as the ones at Bryant Commons in Hinesville, often become a catchment for this litter and debris that flows through the storm drains.

All residents in Liberty County are responsible for keeping the ponds and roads litter-free. People tend to throw cigarette butts, cups, bottles, cans, fast-food waste, and other kinds of trash on sidewalks and streets, which ultimately ends up flowing down the city storm drains. These items are part of nonpoint source pollution, a serious problem that must be addressed.

Nonpoint pollution, also known as NPS, is the most significant danger to our local waterways and roads and is challenging to control. It mainly develops in our homes, backyards, streets, businesses, farms, and heavily populated areas. Rainfall or irrigation moves over and through the ground, picking up and carrying natural and human-made pollutants, depositing them into creeks, lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters, and even our underground drinking water sources.

This is called stormwater pollution because rain washes the pollution and debris into our groundwater and waterways. The pollutants that contribute to NPS pollution include oil, grease, and toxic chemicals from urban runoff and energy production, sediment from improperly managed construction sites, crop and forest lands, and eroding stream banks, salt from irrigation practices, and acid drainage from abandoned mines, bacteria and nutrients from animals, pet waste, and faulty septic systems, and litter.

According to the EPA, nonpoint source pollution is the leading remaining cause of water quality problems. Nonpoint pollution is known to have harmful effects on drinking water, wildlife, and, as we are now learning, also on our sport and seafood fisheries. As urbanization continues, nonpoint pollution’s impact only worsens unless we change many of our harmful daily habits and look for proactive ways to help out, like with the Great American Cleanup and our Adopt Liberty groups, to create positive change.

There are still plenty of ways that you can be involved in creating positive change in Liberty County. You can organize a cleanup in your neighborhood until the end of June for the Great American Cleanup 2024 or join the Adopt Liberty Program. Keep Liberty Beautiful provides all the cleanup supplies (garbage bags, safety vests, work gloves, and even litter reachers) and water for these cleanups.

We appreciate any support volunteers can give. For more information, contact Keep Liberty Beautiful at (912) 8804888 or email klcb@libertycountyga. com. When you know about nonpoint sources of pollution, you can help stop it!

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