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Cleanup gone; not forgotten
Keep Liberty County Beautiful
Cub Scout Pack 500 recently helped “Keep America Beautiful” by taking part in the Great American Cleanup. Front row: Haydan Bishop, Cassity Chambers, Randy Owen, Jonathan Chambers, David Decker, Jacob Decker and Isaiah Lakosky. Second row: Tommy McKnight, Weston Owen and Donavan Jackson. Back row: Diane Chambers, Lillian McKnight, Kim Lakosky and Garry Chambers, cubmaster. - photo by Photo provided.
The Great American Cleanup officially ended Thursday. Now, to be honest, I have to say I am glad — in a way.
It has been hectic since March 1, with what seemed like a never-ending stream of litter cleanups, beautification and community improvement projects and recycling events. But I know it is not enough. There are many areas in our county we still need to address as a community. And, quite frankly, although the Great American Cleanup is an important focus event, litter prevention and cleanup is a year-round problem. We can’t forget that.
Keep America Beautiful has three focus areas: litter prevention, waste reduction and recycling, and community improvement and beautification. All three areas are significant and, in my mind, work together in so many ways. But for me, litter prevention has to take center stage.
Litter is a significant problem in our community and it is such an obvious problem. It makes an unfortunate statement about our community to everyone who visits and to everyone who lives here. Although I am very happy with the efforts of the last three months for the Great American Cleanup, we cannot sit back and rest until next March.  
To change a litter problem, we have to tackle three areas: litter prevention and education, litter enforcement and litter eradication (cleanup). The litter problem will not be significantly reduced by education and eradication alone. Enforcement must play a role.
A recent compilation of litter research by R.W. Beck notes in the two most recent visible litter studies in the United States in 2006 “how litter happens.” Is it “deliberate”' or “accidental?”
Simply speaking, deliberate litter is when someone intentionally tosses garbage on the ground or out of a car window. Examples of “accidental” litter are things like remnants of truck tires left on the highways and items blowing out of truck beds and cars with the windows down.  
First, I do not like the term “accidental litter” because it seems to take the focus off of responsibility. It does not matter if it blows out of a truck bed. It is still the responsibility of the truck owner and it is still against the law. At any rate, in both studies — one in Georgia and one in Tennessee — accidental litter is significantly higher than deliberate litter. That means we must get people to understand that loads in commercial and personal vehicles must be secured. It is the law.  If we can get this one point taken seriously in our county, we could significantly reduce the amount of litter on our roads.
Here is another quick statistic from this research review that is something to think about in this drought we are experiencing right now. In the United States, it is estimated a home is damaged or destroyed every 12 minutes by a fire that was ultimately initiated in rubbish or litter. That is another good reason to get litter and debris cleaned up.
This past weekend, Cub Scout Pack 500 worked a number of hours cleaning up an overgrown area behind the playground at First Methodist Church in Hinesville. What a powerhouse of energy! These Cub Scouts could put to shame volunteers twice their size. Thanks so much to these scouts as well as those who have worked in community improvement projects the past several months. What a great job you do for our community.
We still have some cleanups scheduled and some beautification projects put on hold until we get some rain. I just want to thank all of the hundreds of volunteers who have made such a valiant effort to clean up our community. Now, it is up to all of us to keep it up!
For more information on Keep Liberty County Beautiful programs, contact me at 368-4888 or
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