Put it where it belongs

It’s just trashy to litter.

As cliché as it may seem to criticize litterbugs and the refuse they produce, it’s amazing we still have to point out that trash doesn’t belong in the woods, by the road or especially in the water.

At the same time, we have to give three cheers to Lakyn Wilson. A lifelong resident of Lake Waccamaw, Lakyn was disturbed when another girl had to exchange the lake for the emergency room over the Independence Day holiday, due to a broken bottle that gashed her foot.

Miss Lakyn took it upon herself to do more than complain. She gathered up more than 100 bottles and cans from the lake bottom. We understand she plans to continue doing more than her part, all the while setting an example for others. That’s an example of the type of young folks we should be spotlighting in our county.

At the same time, it’s frustrating that Olivia Bullard got injured in the first case. There’s simply no excuse for such an irresponsible act as throwing a bottle or other trash into any waterway.

Our county hasn’t been sitting idle, of course. There were several volunteer efforts this winter and spring at the lake, and county commissioners have discussed incentive programs for communities to get out and clean up their roadsides. There were long talks about mobilizing state prison inmates and county prisoners to clean up litter. The best suggestion of all was the simplest: let each resident and family spend just a few hours a week on their own road frontage. If every family were to do so, it’s amazing the amount of garbage that would disappear from our area roadsides.

It has been said time and again, but it still stands true: the first and sometimes only image many people have of our county is not gained through marketing programs or media, but what they see when they drive through Columbus heading to other communities. Every single tourist or traveler might well be the one looking for a new place for a small business that creates a handful of jobs. He or she might be looking for a community that could be home to a hundred such jobs, and a hundred such families, each in turn providing an economic boost to the community.

If that first appearance is of fast food wrappers and broken toilets beside a highway, they will likely keep right on going, and take their investments with them.

The need to physically clean up our communities is one of those old saws that makes many people roll their eyes and turn away, but it is as basic of an issue as infrastructure and law enforcement. What’s more, it’s something on which we can all have a positive effect. 

We all need to pay more attention to the trash problem in our county. Even if you didn’t throw it beside the road, it’s your responsibility, too. It’s everyone’s responsibility to clean our county. The motivation can be manyfold, whether it’s to prevent a child from being hurt in a lake that should be a jewel in county’s crown, to protect wildlife and domestic animals from being struck by cars, to show pride in your home, or to help someone look deeper at possibly investing in our community – or whether it’s just because it’s the right thing to do.

Whatever you reason may be, pick up your trash, separate your recyclables when you can, and put it all in the right place, not the lake, the river, the swamp or beside the road.

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About Jefferson Weaver 790 Articles
Jefferson Weaver is the managing editor of columbuscountynews.com and news director for WTXY radio. He can be reached at 910.632.4965, or by email at jeffersonweaver@columbuscountynews.com.