The last few weeks have been busy for Keep Liberty Beautiful volunteers.
More than 180 volunteers participated in Arbor Day activities to plant trees, including planting 32 fruit trees in Hinesville, Midway, Riceboro, Walthourville and at two schools. The project — our second in a state funded effort — is to give people who can’t afford fresh fruit to find fresh fruit in public places.
Also, 18 volunteers and several hundred recycle-minded residents turned in four tons of household items and shredded paper to recycle or reuse or dispose of safely on Feb. 18. And more than 200 Adopt Liberty volunteers in Hinesville, Midway, Flemington and the East End have already cleaned over 25 miles for the Great American Cleanup. In the last week, 73 volunteers have targeted specific areas of debris, including catching debris emptying out of storm drains in Hinesville.
Did you ever wonder where that litter and debris goes when it is washed down storm drains? Last Tuesday some "pond rats" (a term of endearment) gathered at Bryant Commons pond to catch debris flowing in from city storm drains. These pond rats were continuing an effort by the Fort Stewart Anglers Club on Presidents’ Day. Sadly, that sweet little pond catches the cigarette butts, cups, bottles, cans, fast food trash and other litter tossed out by naive citizens across town, what’s called non-point source pollution.
Unfortunately, the most significant danger to waterways — these NPS —are hard to control. Non-point pollution develops mainly in our homes and yards, as well as roads, businesses, even farms. NPS pollution flows with rain or irrigation water moving across the ground. It picks up natural and human-made pollutants, depositing them into creeks, lakes, rivers and even underground sources of drinking water.
These pollutants include:
• Oil, grease and chemicals from urban life 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 wastes, and faulty septic systems
• and, of course, litter.
According to the EPA, non-point source pollution is the leading cause of water quality problems. As urbanization continues, the effects of non-point pollution will worsen unless change many of our daily habits and look for ways — like our pond rats — to change.
There are still ways you can be involved in creating positive change. Several citywide cleanups are scheduled for April 1; in Riceboro, Walthourville and Allenhurst. Hinesville’s is scheduled for April 29. There are also a number of neighborhood and street cleanups. KLB provides all the supplies (garbage bags, safety vests, gloves, litter reachers, water). There are picnics for volunteers after the larger cleanups. We also provide Great American Cleanup T-shirts for all registered volunteers.