By: Lynne Hart
What if every child was taught that littering is wrong? What if every child who dropped or left his or her trash was made to go back and pick it up? What if every adult took responsibility for his or her own trash and was a good example to the young people around them?
What would happen if everyone in the United States picked up just one piece of litter? Over 300 million pieces of trash would be removed from our roadsides, parks, rivers, school campuses, neighborhoods, and walking trails. Right here in Limestone County we could eliminate over 94,000 unsightly pieces of trash!
How does it happen? One piece at a time. One person at a time. It starts at home and it starts with you.
One Can Make A Difference
If you see litter, pick it up. Carry a plastic bag with you when you go for walks. Make an effort…don’t walk past it. Be vocal and let your city and county officials, Athens Police, and Limestone County Sheriff’s Department know that you want to see litter laws enforced. Organize a neighborhood cleanup or encourage your family, community organization, or company to get out and make a difference.
KALB is here to support any individual or group interested in doing one-time or ongoing cleanups. We will supply trash bags, litter grabbers, and safety vests. You choose the location or let us help find an area in need of some attention.
Examples: A gentleman who is temporarily off work asked for supplies and has been cleaning up put-in spots along the Elk River. A local company is giving their employees time to clean up the road on which the business is located. Simple. Easy. Impactful.
Unable To Clean Up?
We understand that not everyone is physically able to participate in a cleanup; however, there is something everyone CAN do. KALB has a Litter Watch program and asks anyone who witnesses a littering incident or finds an illegal dump to contact us. It is so important that we let litterbugs know their community does not approve of this behavior. Here are tips to participate:
- Keep a pad and pen in the car so information can be written down by a passenger, or call us on a hands-free device day or night.
- Provide date, location, tag number, description of vehicle, and what you witnessed.
- Cigarette butts are litter and one of the most dangerous to the environment.
- SEVERAL WAYS TO REPORT: phone (256-233-8000), email (KALBCares@gmail.com), or through our website (KALBCares.com – Click LITTER CONTROL tab)
- Photos and videos are helpful but must NEVER be taken by the driver. Safety first!
- Your identity will NOT be shared with the vehicle owner.
So let your voice be heard! Our phones don’t ring nearly enough with people who want to stop littering by making a report. It is a simple act that makes a huge impact. The owner of the vehicle from which the littering occurred will receive a letter from law enforcement with details of the littering incident, a reminder of the fines connected with littering, and a brochure provided by KALB with information about the effects of littering. It is not always the vehicle owner that litters, and sometimes they are happy to learn what takes place when they are not present.
- Littering is a CRIME and can mean fines up to $500.
- Littering is UGLY and reflects poorly on all who live in Athens and Limestone County.
- Littering can DECREASE PROPERTY VALUES and BUSINESS INTERESTS hurting our local economy.
- Littering is HARMFUL to humans, wildlife, and the environment.
- Littering is SELFISH. No one should have to clean up someone else’s mess.
- Littering CAUSES INJURY to humans and wildlife by causing motor vehicle accidents, fires, choking, strangulation, poisoning, and more.
We look forward to hearing from many of you ready and willing to improve the litter situation in Athens and Limestone County through positive examples, cleanups, and litter reports.
We are ready and waiting for your phone calls!
By: Lynne Hart
Executive Coordinator – Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful