I was pleased to see an inmate work crew picking up trash from the side of the road on Highway 53 recently. We need lots more of that. I was equally dismayed to see the trash pile up again on a stretch of Yellow Creek Road that I had just recently cleaned up by myself. We need lots less of that. Despite the County's 'Keep Pickens Beautiful' project, we have a long way to go. I'd like to make a few suggestions.
First, everyone who lives here has a stake in this, so each of us must get involved. One way to do this is to confront offenders (in a non-threatening way). If you see someone throwing trash out of their car or truck, and you can't or won't follow them to talk about what they did, then take a picture of their license plate and report it to the County. Better yet is to speak with them about what they just did to your home. If you can get the name of the company from the vehicle, please call the owner and complain.
I believe that a large part of the problem is caused by non-resident workers passing through our area on their way to and from work (truck drivers, construction crews, etc.). My wife and I recently saw an unmarked van pull to the side of the road, watched the passenger window roll down, and saw a black trash bag roll out of the window. We both took out our cell phones, pulled up close to the van and took pictures so that the driver saw us doing this. He pulled off the road a mile or so later, and turned around. When we drove by an hour later, the bag was gone. Magic!
Second, although I recognize that they have far more critical matters to attend to, our law enforcement officers need to stop scofflaws when they see them. Those who throw trash onto our roads do it regularly. If they find out that they can be pulled over, the behavior will cease. I think this especially critical when it comes to the truckers who pass through regularly.
Third, residents need to take responsibility for the short section of roadway in front of their property. Once every couple of months it takes less than an hour to take a large trash bag and a pair of gloves out to clean up your yard frontage. This really makes a big difference, as the inmate road crews will never get to every section of every road.
Fourth, we need to request that our legislators pass stricter laws to punish offenders, and publicize the penalties with road signs and advertisements. A fine plus a few days spent in public service picking up the litter of others would go a long way toward changing a litterer's behavior.
Finally, don"t be a litterbug yourself - and don't allow your kids or guests to do it either. The various groups that 'adopt' a section of roadway to keep clean are great, but the problem begins at home.
Pickens County is naturally gorgeous and we're all lucky to live here - but the roadside trash problem is getting worse by the week. Please help!
Arbor Day, traditionally celebrated in Georgia on the third Friday of February, is a day set aside to reflect on the importance of trees. They contribute to the beauty, privacy, and value of our individual properties and our neighborhoods; cover our mountains with lush forests, which support thousands of jobs related to tourism and recreation, and produce millions of dollars in revenue; provide food and habitat for many birds and animals, shade for native plants, and cool temperatures for trout streams; help maintain the biodiversity of the ecosystem and protect the air and water quality we depend on; and create special places that restore our bodies and refresh our spirits.
But Arbor Day is more than a time for reflection. It’s also a time for action to save one of our most majestic and iconic evergreen trees. The hemlocks are being attacked and killed by the millions by a tiny invasive insect, the hemlock woolly adelgid, that was accidentally imported from Asia to the eastern U. S. more than 60 years ago and now infests the entire Appalachian chain. The bad news – the massive loss of the hemlock would be a disaster on the scale of the American Chestnut.
The good news – property owners can treat and save as many of their own trees as they choose. It’s safe, easy enough for most people to do themselves, highly effective, and surprisingly economical, especially compared to the cost of losing the trees. And volunteers can help save the hemlocks in our national forests and state lands too.
All citizens of Pickens County will be affected by one of the many important items coming before the State Legislature during this current session....
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