PERSPECTIVE: 'Lazy litterbugs'

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Have you seen it? It is in our parking lots, on roadsides, in wooded areas, in parks, on sidewalks, and in our neighborhoods. It’s everywhere, so how could you miss it? I’m referring to litter.  I don’t know about you, but it makes me sick to see it. 

I enjoy daily walks with my dogs on the dirt roads in my neighborhood. I love the beauty of the woods and the peacefulness around me. It is my quiet time to think and enjoy the beauty that God has given us. What I don’t enjoy is seeing all the bottles, cans, cups, and other things that have been thrown from vehicles that travel that road. I get so frustrated because I pick it up and the very next day, I find more that has been thrown out. I hear other people from other neighborhoods with the same complaints. 

Usually, I write articles about pets and preventing unwanted litters of puppies or kittens by having pets spayed/neutered. Today, I would like to address another kind of litter. I’m referring to trash left behind by litterbugs. 

I think of litterbugs as being lazy individuals who take no pride in their community or have no respect for other people’s property. Even with trash cans just a few feet away, they rather throw their trash out their car window or throw their trash on the ground when they’re walking. When they are sitting in parking lots eating, they are too lazy to get out of their car and throw their food containers in a trash can. They don’t want to leave it in their cars, so it is left behind in the parking lots or thrown out of car windows onto roadsides.

Swainsboro has two major U.S. highways that run through our town, which means we have a lot of travelers to come through our community. How do you want visitors to see our town? As a nice, clean, friendly community with people who care, or a trashy town with people who don’t care? I would hope visitors would see us as a nice community where they would like to come back to visit or make this their new home.

When new industries are thinking about moving here, creating jobs, and bringing in new people, how do they view us? With new industries and new people in our community, our tax revenue is increased. You may not think about it, but this does have an effect on our taxes. Tax money is used to pay people to clean up our roadways. If we didn’t have so many litterbugs out there littering, that tax money could be used for other things like entertainment or recreation.

I think of litterbugs as being parasites in our community. With each generation, they become more of a problem. We have always had a litter problem, but I think it is getting worse. Yes, we do have laws against littering, but catching violators in the act is hard to do.

I really don’t have any answers on how we can completely eradicate the litterbugs in our community, but I do have some suggestions that may help make our community more beautiful:

  • Start a “Keep Emanuel County Clean” campaign.
  • Neighbors could work together to clean up their neighborhoods.
  • When you’re walking and eating, don’t litter our streets, yards, neighborhoods, or sidewalks with your cups, bottles, cans, or paper.  We are all tired of cleaning up your mess.
  • Keep a plastic bag in your car to put your trash in until you can find a trash can. Please don’t throw it out your car window and leave it for others to have to clean up.
  • When you are sitting in parks or parking lots enjoying your lunch, don’t leave your trash behind.  Try burning a few of those calories you just ate by walking over to a trash can to throw your containers away.
  • At the end of sporting events, it wouldn’t hurt if the announcer would remind the public to please pick up their trash and remind folks where trash cans are located.
  • Parents and grandparents teach your children to take pride in their community and that trash has a proper place, in trash cans, not left behind or thrown on the ground.  Remember you must set the good example, because your children are watching you.

I love this community and the people in it. I wish more people would take pride in living here and not trash our parks, roadways, parking lots, or neighborhoods. Please do your part in keeping our community clean by putting litter in its place—in trash cans.

We can do this, Emanuel County, if we all work together. Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a community where the only thing we left behind was our footprint?

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