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Counties attend 'litter training'
Keep Liberty Beautiful
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Last week, Keep Liberty County Beautiful hosted a regional litter enforcement training program in Hinesville. Our program and community have received a state Clean Community Challenge grant, which will help us eradicate litter, particularly, “blown” litter, or trash that blows out of moving vehicles. Trucks hauling unsecured items often contribute to this problem.
Blown litter actually accounts for more than half the litter on our roads, which is why increasing awareness about using tarps or other methods to secure truck loads is so important.
One of the components of the grant we received was to provide area law enforcement and community leaders an opportunity to learn more about enforcing Georgia’s litter ordinances.    
Last Wednesday, 36 participants from seven counties met for a four-hour training course on Georgia’s Comprehensive Litter Prevention and Abatement Act of 2006. We were fortunate to have seasoned state trainers provide this training.
Randy Hartmann, director of the Office of Environmental Management; Lynn Cobb, director of Keep Georgia Beautiful; and Scott Carroll, law enforcement officer and state trainer for the Department of Natural Resources, shared a wealth of information on recent litter research findings, successful actions other communities have taken and effective investigation and enforcement of litter and illegal dumping violations.
The workshop participants included law enforcement officers, code enforcement officers and community leaders from Liberty, Long, Bulloch, McIntosh, Camden, Tattnall and Bacon counties. We sincerely appreciate Randy and Lynn and the Department of Community Affairs as well as Scott and the Department of Natural Resources for making this training possible.
Litter is serious business. Not only does the cost for cleanups carry an expensive price tag for taxpayers, but these violations can cause dangerous situations for other vehicles or serious health hazards in our community.
Having trouble picturing litter as deadly? In 2003, the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety reported that there were 15 fatal crashes that year caused by drivers “hitting objects in the roadway” resulting in 20 lives lost from debris on Georgia’s roads. Litter can also include items that can be hazardous to our health or to our environment, such as biomedical waste.
Why should you care about litter? Is it really that big of a deal? Yes, I think so, but, more importantly, several research studies over the years raise serious issues about the impact of litter on communities. The Broken Windows theory first appeared in the 1940’s; however, it was popularized by a series of writings by Dr. George Kelling and political scientist James Q. Wilson.
Dr. Kelling authored a book, “Fixing Broken Windows.” It is an excellent read if you are interested in understanding the relationship between quality of life issues and environmental blight.
The theory is simple: a broken window — or any signs of neglect, like littered areas, graffiti or disrepair — left unrepaired in a building or area sends a message that there is a lack of concern about the place. That broken window left untended leads to more broken windows. This lack of concern and interest causes a chain reaction.
When citizens choose to ignore vandalism, they open the door to other negative behaviors and acts of vandalism. This problem and the apathy surrounding it lead to increased vandalism and serious crimes. Ultimately, this leads to neighborhood decline because neglect and apathy have taken root.  
Dr. Kelling has several recommendations for protecting communities from decline:
• Residents need to take personal responsibility for their neighborhoods.  
• Citizens and law enforcement agencies need to work together to prevent and fight crime.
• Improvements and upkeep in business districts are essential.
• Community courts can be developed to deal effectively with enforcement issues.

KLCB announcements that you can use to help save the environment:
• The Cash for Clunkers program may be ending Monday night, but you can still donate your “clunker” to local charities like The Kidney Foundation and the Humane Society. You may not get a $4,500 rebate, but you can get a tax donation and that warm, fuzzy feeling from knowing you helped a person or an animal in need.
• Oct. 24: The annual Rivers Alive Cleanups in Liberty County.
• Aug. 19, 8:30 a.m.: Litter enforcement training. For more information or to register, call 368-4888 or e-mail
• Tell the world how you really feel about litter. Get your free litter car decal by calling 368-4888 or e-mailing
• Keep your “butts” off the streets and sidewalks! Cigarette litter needs to be disposed of properly. For a free cigarette litter pocket ashtray, call 368-4888.

For more information on Keep Liberty County Beautiful programs, contact Swida at 368-4888 or
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