Time to get tough on littering in our community

Published 11:24 am Friday, September 4, 2020

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Keep Carter County Beautiful Director Ed Jordan within recent days has repeatedly called attention to illegal dumping in the community and the unsightly mess it is creating. He most recently appeared at a committee meeting of the Carter County Commission, where he shared about an illegal dumping site behind Milligan College, where people have dumped mattresses and other unwanted items.
Who litters and why?
It’s a frustrating issue as many of our backroads in the county and even city streets have become dumping sites for discarded furniture, fast food wrappers, bags, and cups, beer cans, cigarette butts, and now, discarded face masks.
It’s not okay that we turn our city and county into a trash bin. Although motorists and pedestrians are leading sources of litter, there are some people who intentionally dump their unwanted items on county rights-of-way or on the property of others.
Appearance speaks volumes and can have a major impact on a community, one way or the other. Who wants to live in an area that is full of trash and litter?
Trash dumping, where it is intentional or accidental, ruins the landscape of our highways and streets. Dumping of trash and littering are illegal and cost the county and state money to clean up.
County Mayor Rusty Barnett said because of COVID-19 and the lockdown of the Carter County Detention Center, the county has not been able to use jail inmates to pick up little. However, it should not be left to the inmates to pick up our county’s litter.
Dumping of trash and littering are illegal and cost the county and state money and time to clean up. People caught littering or dumping can be fined by the county, but it has been a while since we have seen a case of littering go before the courts.
Almost anywhere you travel in Carter County, you can find roadside litter. In addition, household trash, old tires, and beverage containers can be found along our river banks. The Doe and Watauga Rivers along with our many creeks and streams are a treasured natural resource that we all should care for, not make an ugly dumping ground.
Dumping of trash in the city is uncalled for as all residents in the city who have utility connections pay for garbage collection. All it takes is to put your trash in a container and wheel it out to the curb – a pretty easy solution.
If you have big items to get rid of, the city will handle that as well.
The same can be said for rural residents who have access to private garbage collection companies. Or they can take their trash to the landfill and pay a fee.
Dumping trash anywhere is lazy and thoughtless. Dumpers are not taking into consideration the labor involved in cleaning up piles of trash that accumulate along county roads and the rivers. In many instances, it doesn’t get picked up and those who litter don’t care.
The piles tend to grow as people see the trash and think it is OK to dump there.
What can the public do to help keep area roads and byways clean and free of litter? Change can start with a small act. Simply throwing away your trash instead of tossing it on the ground can go a long way. Instead of dumping old appliances at a vacant lot, take them to the landfill.
First, do not throw litter from your car. Keep a small trash bag in your car to dispose of cups, napkins, food wrappers and other items.
If you are moving or hauling garbage in the back of your truck or an open trailer, cover it with a tarp.
If you live in the county and do not want to pay commercial fees to have your trash collected, take it to the landfill.
If you are out enjoying nature or walking down the sidewalk and see a piece of trash on the ground, pick it up and take it to the nearest public trash can.
It takes everyone doing their part to keep ugly trash from taking over our communities. The more responsible we all are about our surroundings, the more the message that dumping is not acceptable behavior will spread.
Together, our community can make a difference. It’s time for us to take a stance against litter and pick it up.

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