By: Lynne Hart
KALB recently organized a trash cleanup at the Wildlife Management Area in Tanner, Alabama, which took place on Martin Luther King Day.
Even with 25 degree temps and blustery winds, we had a small group of dedicated people who showed up to work. Thank you to Rick Pressnell, a KALB Board member and Master Gardener, for doing the legwork to make this cleanup happen, and a HUGE thank you to Margaret McClary, Kipp and Craig Irland, Lori and Griff Knox, Pat Underwood, and David Whiteside for braving the cold to do some very hard work.
Litter By The Numbers
Nine volunteers picked up 45 large bags of trash, several tires, and a television set in 3 hours. The sad part is that we hardly made a dent in the amount of trash that remains along Harris Station Road and the connected wildlife management areas. We removed 1,904 lbs. of trash from three very small areas. Harris Station Rd. from Lucas Ferry Rd. to Hwy. 31 is just under 5 miles long. Based on what we saw, there are probably many tons of trash that remain in this area of Limestone alone.
Who Is To Blame?
I hear lots of complaints, including that the city and county don’t do enough to keep litter picked up. Litter crews can’t keep up because as soon as they clean an area, someone is trashing it again. The blame should fall squarely on those who create the litter to begin with.
After our MLK cleanup, I was ANGRY! I remain angry that there are people out there who do not give one hoot about the people who have to clean up their mess. I am angry that some of these offenders are probably hunters and fishermen who should have more respect for the land and water. I am angry that so many people seem to have no regard for the importance of our waterways, the health of our local environment, the filth our local wildlife are forced to live with, or the appearance of the communities in which we live. And I am angry that no one is held accountable!
So, where do we place blame? Blame anyone creating the litter. That includes tossing out trash intentionally, putting loose trash in trash cans (and not cleaning up what falls out), tossing loose trash in the bed of a pickup truck thinking it will remain there, hauling uncovered or improperly covered loads, letting construction debris blow across neighborhoods, not properly monitoring business dumpsters, and (this one is my favorite) telling children it’s OK to litter because the inmates need something to do!
At one time or another, we may all fall into one of those categories; however, we must do better.
Should we also blame those who witness it and let it go unreported? Since there seems to be no legal deterrent or consequences, here is your opportunity to make a difference! If you witness an act of littering in Athens-Limestone County, call the KALB Litter Hotline – 256-233-8000. Provide the date, location, time, vehicle description and tag number, and what you saw.
If you care about the litter situation in Limestone County, then you should help us tell litterbugs the community is watching and WE WANT IT TO STOP! Your information remains confidential. KALB offers washable litter bags for your vehicles with the hotline number on them. Stop into our office at 125 East St. to pick one up. Call ahead and we’ll be sure to leave it for you in case we will be out of the office.
WE NEED YOU to help reduce the litter!
By: Lynne Hart
Executive Coordinator – Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful