Sharing the burden of county litter problem

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, January 24, 2017

This weekend, a group of high school students volunteered their Saturday afternoon to pick up other people’s trash along the highway.

Quite literally, this act of community service represents a group of young people cleaning up after the mistakes of others.

While trash alongside a highway may not be the biggest challenge this generation will face, picking it up is certainly a commendable service to the community.

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For too long our county’s residents have relied on litter crews to fill large bags with discarded garbage. Even with crews working in constant rotation there is still an inordinate amount of garbage littering our roadways.

It took these students four hours to clear a small section of the roadway along Highway 11 and Memorial Boulevard, and while trusties with the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department

spend entire days doing the same, the garbage will reappear within a day or a week.

Efforts have been made by some county leaders to curtail this problem; a problem not only aesthetically displeasing, but also causes drainage and pollution issues.

The Sheriff’s Department has increased trusty efforts to clean up parts of the county and the county Board of Supervisors hired a litter control officer to investigate these crimes.

However, the blame lies with all of us.

Trash collectors can always do more to ensure garbage doesn’t fly out of their trucks on the way to the landfill. Drivers can do more to make sure trash doesn’t fly—or get thrown—out of their vehicles.

Residents can make sure all garbage is put in the proper receptacles so a strong wind doesn’t blow trash down the street. And we can all do more to make sure we don’t pollute our environment.

It shouldn’t be the responsibility of a young group of kids to clean up after others’ messy habits.