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Litter prevention: Let me count the ways
Keep Liberty Beautiful
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During the past couple of months, more than 600 local volunteers have worked hard to pick up litter all around our county. Let me make sure we all understand this is litter they didn’t throw down or let blow onto our roads and green spaces. They have worked hard to offset the carelessness of other local residents. And the cleanups are not over yet. I still have groups setting dates for area cleanups, so call and set a date for your neighborhood or group. We also have had more than 350 volunteers help with beautification projects like planting trees or public awareness efforts such as Earth Day and Read Across Liberty. That kind of effort is certainly commendable, but we all need to make sure those efforts were not in vain.
I once counted visible pieces of litter on a local road three days after a cleanup. There were 215 pieces! My husband thinks I have a sickness. Maybe he’s right. Who counts litter on the side on the road? Someone who does not understand people who litter.
Please help us maintain the areas these volunteers have so faithfully cleaned. Check out the top 10 suggestions from Keep America Beautiful for keeping our world litter-free — with a few added tips from me.
1. Set an example by not littering. Carry a litter bag in your car and hang onto litter until you find a garbage receptacle. Parents: set an example for your children. Children: set an example for your parents ... sometimes they need it.
2. Pick up one piece of litter everyday. Particularly pick up litter around storm drain sewers. Anything going in these goes directly to our waterways.
3. Share with others — your family, your neighbors, your co-workers — the proper ways to dispose of litter.
4. Make sure your trash cans have good-fitting lids so litter cannot fall or blow out. If you transport garbage or recyclable items to area convenience centers for disposal, make sure your bags and containers are secure in your vehicle. More than 60 percent of our litter problem is caused by debris from unsecured loads. You can make a difference just by using a tarp on your truck or by securing items so they don’t blow out. It is a good thing to do, but even more importantly, it is the law.
5. Ask your neighbors to join you in cleaning up one area in your community where litter accumulates. Adopting that area can help reduce the amount of litter because people do litter less in areas that are maintained.
6. Encourage groups — like civic clubs, youth groups, sports teams and church groups — that you and your family members support to become involved in cleanup and recycling projects. Have your group adopt a spot and maintain it on a regular basis.
7. Look for ways to beautify your neighborhood and community. Neighborhoods that are maintained and attractive are littered less and research shows that they are usually safer, too.
8. In your workplace, make sure there are an adequate number of appropriately placed containers for garbage disposal. Make sure designated smoking areas have receptacles for cigarette butts, too. Cigarette butts can take from two to 20 years to decompose. They are also a disgusting litter problem. I have a limited number of free plastic cigarette butt ashtrays for smokers who will use them. Call 368-4888.
In your workplace, also consider setting up recycling containers for items like plastic bottles, aluminum cans, paper and cardboard. Also, make sure the tops and side doors of business dumpsters are closed properly so litter cannot fall or blow out.
9. If you own or work with a construction or hauling business, make sure trucks are covered when transporting materials from one site to another. Make sure an adequate number of garbage containers are accessible for workers. Use fencing around construction and demolition sites to prevent debris from being blown into other areas or properties.
10. At community and recreational events, look for containers to dispose of snack wrappers and drink containers. Don’t just throw them on the ground. Where did we ever get the idea that that is okay?
We can all do something to make the world — our world — a cleaner and brighter place to live. With a little bit of effort and by working together, we can all make a difference at home, at work and throughout our communities. Count the ways that you can make change happen here in Liberty County.

More upcoming KLCB events that need your help:
• Through May 15: Recycle 4 Liberty contest in schools. Schools will collect PET #1 plastic bottles and the tops of aluminum cans.

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