Do your part to pick up litter

Published 5:57 pm Monday, February 25, 2019

familiar topic of conversation dominated the State of Troup County presentation Thursday night in West Point.

Ever since the Troup County Correctional Institute closed nearly two years ago, roadside litter has been a hotly debated subject in our area. Until its closure, inmates from the correctional facility picked up litter off roadways.

Since the closure, the inmates from the Troup County Sheriff’s Office have taken on that role, although there are less available people to pick up trash. Inmates picked up 8,223 bags of trash, 361 tires and 77 appliances off of county roads last year. Of course, the problem is there’s a lot more trash out there, and it seemingly multiplies by the minute. Troup County and the cities of LaGrange, West Point and Hogansville have come together to take a stance against littering, including putting a public awareness campaign to remind citizens not to litter.

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For the most part, our city and county leaders are trying to set an example.

The City of LaGrange has also done a terrific job organizing a monthly litter pick-up. The last one started right outside our office. The sheriff’s office adopted a mile of highway last year and has done its part to keep it clean.

Unfortunately, our community will never be litter-free if people throw fast food bags out their window as they go down the highway. Of course, stopping anyone who does so is also a challenge. Law enforcement officers cannot be everywhere, and even if someone called the police after witnessing someone litter, it’s difficult to prove.

Like many issues in our community, litter pick-up is not one that should be government led. The government can and should play a role — and it has — but this will be an issue solved by regular, everyday citizens.

Litter pick-up is a lot like picking up your house. It’s easy to pick up a plastic wrapper off the kitchen floor and throw it away. What if we all did the same when we were out walking? It wouldn’t solve the litter problem completely, but it would put a big dent in it.

Every community has this same discussion on a regular basis, but some handle it better than others. The biggest piece of that has to be holding ourselves accountable, not littering and picking up any trash we do see.