Volunteers needed for county-wide cleanup task force

Published 12:49 am Sunday, April 20, 2008

Volunteers are still needed for a task force to head a county-wide cleanup effort in Pearl River County, District V Supervisor Sandy Smith said on Wednesday.

Smith said the clean-up project is intended to be an effort to get all citizens involved in cleaning up litter and debris along the county roadways and waterways, as well as cleaning up properties that contain junk such as old appliances and scrap metal and abandoned homes and house trailers.

Smith and District III Supervisor Hudson Holliday say they have already begun cleaning their properties and encourage others to do so as well.

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“We want this to be a positively motivated effort by all citizens, and we need to start by our own places of living. We can criticize and point fingers, but we need to start in our own backyards,” Smith said.

Smith said schools will be encouraged to take part in the cleanup as well because of the influence children can have on their parents.

“Kids can be an influence and can spread the word. It’s easy for adults to throw trash out the window of their vehicles, but we can encourage the kids to tell their parents not to do that,” Smith said.

Holliday said he hopes that churches also get involved in the project.

“We want to coordinate this so that the Sunday before we kick the program off, the churches will talk about the effort and maybe even hand out yard signs and such. We want it to be a big blossoming campaign… a comprehensive campaign that involves civic organizations, churches, schools, the county and the municipalities. This cleanup is an effort we can all agree on,” Holliday said.

Smith said the current idea is to have a county-wide softball tournament to kick off the campaign and get people involved. The tournament will be between county and city officials and local volunteer fire departments and police departments, as well as others within the county.

“This whole thing needs to start with the leaders of the county. We need to make it easy to get rid of trash. Also, we encourage the citizens to voice their opinions and provide ideas. We want to start positive and then stay positive,” Smith said.

“We want to approach this from every possible standpoint. We are asking people to clean, and encouraging them to get involved. We’re facilitating the cleanup by trying to break up the culture we have these days to throw out trash on our roads and highways. We have to break the culture,” Holliday said. “Until people figure out it’s wrong to do it, they’re not gonig to stop.”

Holliday said the task force will be comprised of representatives from all areas of the county, including civic organizations, volunteer groups, cities, fire departments and the county.

“We want to set up a website that is dedicated strictly to this effort. Then we want to list resources for things like places where junk can be hauled, and people who will haul the junk. We want to list ways people can get their old abandoned properties torn down or old abandoned house trailers torn down for scrap metal… We’ve got to raise awareness in a positive way,” Holliday said.

Holliday encourages people to volunteer for the task force, or also to provide ideas for the campaign, such as logos and places that need to be cleaned during the effort.

“Our county has to set an example for everyone else,” Holliday said.

Any ideas for campaign logos or cleanup spots can be mailed to the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors, c/o “Cleanup Campaign”, P.O. Box 569, Poplarville, MS 39470. Individuals can contact their supervisor with ideas or if they would like to volunteer for the task force, or may call Planning and Development Director Ed Pinero at the Planning Department at (601) 403-2561.