By: Claire Tribble
Athens and Limestone County are growing-rapidly. Everywhere you look, there are new neighborhoods under construction. This is great for Athens because more and more businesses are coming in as well. While the new faces are wonderful, the downside is that litter and dumping issues are growing rapidly as well. So why is litter and illegal dumping a problem? Litter looks bad when you are traveling down our streets and roads. Depending on what it is, it can pollute the ground and waterways. It affects animals — they can become entangled, injured, and sick from litter and the effects of litter. It seems we are fighting a never-ending battle.
Last week, the 5th grade Vacation Bible School teacher from Athens First Methodist Church contacted KALB about a community service opportunity. It had to be something close, and something that the kids could accomplish in a short amount of time, and safe, of course. So, we headed to Swan Creek Park by Athens Middle School to pick up litter. The kids split into small groups and headed in different directions.
The group of girls that I chaperoned were very shocked at the amount of litter they began to see when they stood back and looked around. They started to fill their bucket immediately with plastic wrapping, paper, socks, and all sorts of things. I cannot tell you how many times I heard, “Who just throws this stuff down?” All together, they collected about 80 pounds (4 bags) in about 45 minutes. The weight of the lessons learned was far heavier.
This isn’t the first group that has approached us to help with a cleanup. I had a cleanup scheduled for June 12 as well. Josh Wolfe, founder/CEO of WolfeCo Media in Downtown Athens, reached out to me, and we planned a day for his employees to volunteer. This is how we start to make the changes that we all want to see — community involvement.
Cub Scout Pack #29 participated in our One-Bag Challenge last month. This group of young boys were able to collect 5 bags of litter from the Big Spring Park and track at Athens Middle School. Not only did they all get out and pick up litter, but they were winners in the One-Bag Challenge
Intech Medical of Athens recently sent a group of almost 30 employee volunteers to the TVA River Cleanup! We were so grateful to them for helping us clean up 8,820 pounds of trash on three roads along the Tennessee River. The enthusiasm that Intech brought to the cleanup was amazing because they were all VOLUNTEERS — no one was being paid to be there.
Shape Corp of Athens also contacted us back in December to coordinate a cleanup for their employees. The eleven volunteers that participated cleaned up 840 pounds of litter! While this is amazing, it’s sad that there is that much trash in a small location. We can do better as a community to fight littering and illegal dumping!
Back in March, United Pest Control in Ardmore hosted its annual litter cleanup for Ardmore. They had around 60 volunteers made up of employees and the citizens of Ardmore. They were able to collect 1,000 pounds of litter that had been left on the streets and roads of Ardmore. We are proud to support this wonderful cleanup for them each year, and we are beyond happy to continue this partnership!
If you have a company, organization, school group, youth group, team, or even just a group of friends, Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful would love to help you organize a cleanup anywhere in the city or county! There is always a job for everyone, whether it’s nitty gritty, or holding the bag. No lesson is too small or insignificant.
As always, we are here to help you find good cleanup locations, provide all cleanup supplies, and join in and help as well! We have fantastic support from the County Commissioners and City Council to assist us! Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful is located at 125 East Street, Athens, Alabama 35611. We can be reached via email at KALBCares@gmail.com, or by phone (256)233-8000, or send us a message on Facebook. We are happy to help you in any way we can! Always feel free to call us to report illegal dumping and trouble spots!
By: Claire Tribble
Executive Director, Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful