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Awareness, effort needed to combat litter epidemic

December 19, 2012

By BEN CARVER

My dad says that I wasn’t noticing the massive amounts of litter all over town until I got elected.

He may be right.

Maybe it took getting into local office, for me to open my eyes and notice all of the trash littering our roadways in Starkville and Oktibbeha County.

It also became more noticeable after I spent a considerable amount of time last year in Maryland and Pennsylvania. You just don’t see as much litter on the roadways in Northern states. I had some gentlemen explain to me that they heard we are called the “Dirty South” because of this.

Maybe it took me looking for ways to improve our great city, and litter control can be one of the easiest ways to improve our appearance to visitors and to help increase our quality of life here in Starkville.

The aim of this short article is simply to raise awareness of the growing problem.

I dare you to open your eyes and start counting the pieces of trash that you pass to work each day.

Too often, people are seen throwing entire bags of food and paper products out of the window of their vehicle. This causes the trash to collect on the roadways, and our private and public mowing services to have to clean up after litterers.

Another major contributor is trash flying out of the back of pickup trucks. I drive a pickup truck myself, and I check the back of it daily and take any trash out of it the bed before I leave the house. If everyone would get their trash out of the back of their trucks, less would be on our roadways.

Also, I also challenge you to ride down Old West Point Road and look at the amounts of trash on the way to the County Dump.

Please contact your local county supervisor and urge them to work on getting Old West Point Road cleaned back up. They did not create this problem, but I believe that it needs to be cleaned up. Contractors and individuals that are hauling debris and trash to the dump should be required to tarp the contents of their trailers.

Like most situations, people’s first reaction is for the government to come to everyone’s aid and help alleviate the problem; but, litter is the people’s problem and is caused by the people.

I say it is time that we try to educate everyone in the town on keeping our appearances up.

Hopefully, your eyes will be opened and talks will begin to educate more people on not littering.

There is such an easy solution to an easy problem to fix: don’t litter in the first place, and we wouldn’t have to waste taxpayer dollars cleaning up roads in town and the county.

More importantly, our town and county will be more beautiful and pleasant to the eye.

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