Polish the Pearl underway

Published 11:12 pm Saturday, July 19, 2008

A joint effort of existing and new programs will work to clean up the county of litter, dilapidated properties and illegal dump sites.

Local residents, county and city officials and emergency personnel from various agencies attended a meeting Friday where public opinion and ideas were shared to try to alleviate the long standing county litter problem.

Hudson Holliday, District III Supervisor, presented the county’s new slogan at the meeting, “Pearl River County, the Pearl of Mississippi”. The campaign will aim to clean up the county, or “Polish the Pearl” by cleaning up the county and educating the public.

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Blighted properties are just as much a problem in the county as people throwing trash from their windows along the road or illegally dumping trash, Holliday said.

“A lot of these (homes) aren’t even good enough for firewood, and they are still out there blighting properties,” Holliday said.

The program is funded by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and the Keep Mississippi Beautiful Campaign, County Planning and Development Director Ed Pinero said. It will also work with the Pick it up Picayune program, which won last year’s Mississippi Municipal League award.

There are avenues for residents to dispose of their waste properly. Currently county residents have free access to Central Landfill located in Millard. Up to four bags a week can be taken to that location free of charge as long as residents show proof of residency in the county, Waste Management representative Steve Loveless. Five to ten bags will cost the resident $5.50 to dispose of.

Coastal Waste Services provides curb side waste pickup for the City of Picayune and is willing to offer that same service to subdivisions, said CWS District Sales Manager Mark Fridge. Twice a year the company donates roll off containers to neighborhoods so they can clean up their area.

Residents and county and city personnel offered ideas to clean up the county. Problems such as people throwing trash out of their windows, illegal dump sites and the possibility of county wide garbage pickup were discussed.

Any one who rides on the county’s roads can see litter lining those roads, and even occasionally see the people who throw that trash out their windows. Carol McIntosh asks why residents can’t use some of today’s technology, such as cellphone cameras, to put a stop to it.

Illegal dump sites and people who throw things out of their cars could be dissuaded from continuing their bad habit if they know an unmarked car is on patrol looking for them, Interim Picayune City Manager Harvey Miller said. That officer could be jointly funded by all three county law enforcement agencies.

County Engineer Les Dungan said he grew up watching people throw things out their windows.

“We’ve got to break that culture,” Dungan said.

The idea of county wide garbage pickup was also discussed. Implementation would depend on tax payers being willing to absorb that cost, said District IV Supervisor Sandy Kane Smith.

A similar campaign kick off will take place in Poplarville. The date and venue for that event is still in the works, Pinero said.