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Prescription for tackling litter in our county
Keep Liberty Beautiful
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Keep Liberty Beautiful is a county program that promotes our environment.

I am not a doctor and don’t play one on TV, but I do understand how to heal a littered community. And I have a couple of prescriptions that might help.

The first thing is to remember that litter is a chronic disease. It is a long term illness that cannot be cured, but we can minimize the symptoms. When look at litter and those who do so, it is actually only about 10 per cent of our population locally who actually litters and don’t care. There are some litters who just need to be enlightened and can be cured by education.

Obviously, though, litterers can make a real mess that all of us have to endure. I think of chronic litterers as rogue cancer cells. Can we cure them? Maybe not, but we can offset their effect on our community. I am prescribing a One a Day Formula, as well as some long term steps in continuing education and awareness that I believe make a difference.

If, once a day, each of us "healthy" citizens makes a commitment to picking up at least one piece of litter, in a year one person can wipe out 360 plus pieces of litter from our community. A family of four could obliterate 1,440 hundred pieces. Just think, if you could get your street or your neighborhood to participate, tens of thousands of pieces of litter would no longer affect your community, and your property values. Your neighborhood would be a much healthier and more attractive place. I know you can see where I am going with this. If each of us takes less than five minutes a day, we could absolutely minimize litter.

Litter is one of those pesky little problems that really gets under my skin. It is honestly just a stupid thing for local residents and businesses to have to tolerate. A small percentage of people actually commit this crime, but the rest of us have to live with it in our business areas and in our neighborhoods.

Litter is not just ugly and nasty, it also is bad for wildlife and waterways. Litter hurts businesses and limits economic growth — translation: fewer good jobs in our community. Litter costs all of us who, pay taxes, dollars that could be used much more effectively on other services. I am not talking chicken feed here. Just in our county, we are talking hundreds of thousands of dollars. What a waste because of the habits of lazy citizens.

We can actually make a difference here in Liberty County on litter and conservation issues, but it isn’t an instant fix. We are now growing a generation of youngsters who will not litter and who will expect to recycle and to conserve water and all resources.

I believe this young generation has all the potential to be a generation that refuses to waste resources that should be precious to us. I believe they will be the generation that chooses to live in harmony with the Earth, instead of taking it for all it is worth. Our hope is that in the process of participating in Earth Day educational activities and community cleanups and recycling events that our youth will be able to influence their less enlightened parents and other adult role models who do litter and toss everything. This greener generation will drag the rest of us along as they embrace their personal roles in taking care of their world.

In the meantime, take the One a Day Prescription and let’s work together to make our community as healthy as possible. Less litter in our lives is a healthy win for all of us. Would you like an official prescription or a more detailed plan to make the place where you live and work and play healthier? Then, contact us at Keep Liberty Beautiful at 912-880 4888 or\.

Swida is director of Keep Liberty Beautiful.

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