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Keep trash out of gutters, let rain have the drain
Keep Liberty Beautiful
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Sara Swida is executive director of Keep Liberty Beautiful.

Storm drains. You may take them for granted but you’ve just got to love them.

Storm drains are those little metal grates that you will see – if you notice – on the sides of streets and sidewalks. The purpose of storm drains is to help prevent flooding by diverting rainwater off of the streets and other paved surfaces.

They are very helpful in preventing flooding in heavy rains, so even if you take them for granted, they perform a very useful service for you.

Unfortunately, many citizens abuse these helpful drains by tossing all sorts of items in them – cigarette butts, fast food containers, candy wrappers, yard waste, pet waste and even cooking oil and motor oil sometimes.

What are these folks thinking? They are not trash cans, and actually any of this stuff ending up in storm drains flows with rainwater into local bodies of water.

Now that grosses me out. I hope it does you, too.

Storm drains are intended for rainwater only. When they are misused, we create a major problem for our local waterways and for us. This stormwater, now polluted by our carelessness, ends up in our waterways, which become polluted, too.

The storm drains in downtown Hinesville drain into the pond at Bryant Commons Park. The pond, when not polluted by our storm drain mess, is a very enjoyable place to spend an afternoon fishing and having fun. So please do not dump in our local storm drains.

It is bad enough that our wasteful actions can affect this park. But what’s even worse is if the trash is not removed at the park location, it can end up flowing out farther into local creeks, streams and rivers. Some of this debris can even end up in the ocean and create havoc for local aquatic life.

On March 10, our local Young Adult Liberty Leaders (YALL) will be conducting a litter cleanup in Bryant Commons Park. You are invited to join with these energetic young leaders to help make a difference during the Great American Cleanup.

The YALL students help regularly with many community projects including litter cleanups. Last week they conducted a cleanup in the Gum Branch area.

These young leaders understand the importance of taking care of our community. Picking up the litter is important, but the powerful statement that local citizens, including young people, like these, make by participating in these efforts is even more valuable. It makes it clear to other citizens that litter is not acceptable.

That message will mean more to someone who litters than any "Do Not Litter" sign ever will. These events, coupled with our Adopt Liberty adopt-a-road cleanups, are our most effective teaching tools to fight litter.

If you cannot join us for the Bryant Commons cleanup, consider some other events. Citywide cleanups will be held March 10 in Riceboro, Walthourville and Allenhurst. And Midway and the East End area of the county will have their spring cleanups March 24. The citywide cleanup day for Hinesville will be April 28.

If you cannot participate in a local citywide cleanup, we can help you schedule a neighborhood or group cleanup on a day that works for you. KLB provides all the cleanup supplies (garbage bags, safety vests, work gloves and even litter reachers), water and arrangements for cleanup locations. We also provide official Great American Cleanup t-shirts to all registered volunteers.

Please contact us this week if you would like to participate so we can have plenty of supplies for everyone. These YALL students are making a difference and so can you.

Remember, please do not dump stuff in storm drains, and maybe one day the Bryant Commons Pond will be so clean, that litter cleanups there will not be necessary. That depends on us keeping those storm drains clean.

To register for these upcoming cleanups or to form a cleanup group in your neighborhood, contact Keep Liberty Beautiful at 880-4888 or

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