S

econd verse, same as the first.

This space has been devoted to the litter problem in Jackson County many times.

On the downside, we’re compelled to devote it yet again. We’re blessed to have a lot of citizens and public officials who have dedicated themselves to cleaning up the junk in our streams, rivers and roadsides.

But we’re cursed to have a cadre of folks who seem just as dedicated to replacing that junk.

On the upside, the better angels in this fight are nowhere near giving up, and a new army of volunteers is being mobilized to tackle the issue the week of Oct. 13-19.

They’ll be picking up litter on secondary roads as part of the Jackson County Solid Waste Department’s semiannual Cleaning Up the Mountains litter campaign.

Secondary roads present a crime of opportunity for litterbugs. Lightly patrolled and often lightly settled, there’s little chance of a scofflaw getting caught.

But obviously, these scofflaws leave plenty of evidence behind, leaving the caring to clean up after the uncaring.

“Litter is terrible,” Jackson County Recycle/Reduction Coordinator Kim Shuler said. “It is ugly, pollutes the environment, affects the area tourism, and if there’s lots of it lying around people will simply add to it, unintentionally showing a lack of respect for our community. Litter affects our local wildlife, even our livestock and pets.”

This cleanup is part of an ongoing effort started in 2018, when the Cleaning Up the Mountains campaign, spearheaded by Mike and Norma Clayton, was launched to spruce up the county ahead of Sylva’s signature street festival, Greening Up the Mountains. There were repeat cleanups in October and March of this year.

Jackson County Public Works is a major contributor to the effort, distributing fliers and helping to map out roads in need, Director Chad Parker said.

The county’s GIS Department has created a large-scale map of which roads in Jackson County are adopted for litter pickup. 

The map allows participants to see where help is needed.

In the past, Parker has asked county employees to participate in the cleanup, and many turned out and brought family members. Church groups, civic organizations and individual citizens all pitched in.

The DOT will provide orange trash bags and collect the litter gathered from the sides of the roads.

County commissioners have joined the litter fight in a major way, unanimously endorsing a new campaign to keep efforts going and to raise awareness of the problem.

We salute the county and those are organizing and volunteering for next month’s effort. 

And we encourage those who haven’t to join up.

 

TO SIGN UP

To register for the cleanup contact Kim Shuler at 586-7577 by Oct. 1. Have information ready of the name of your group, number of members, and the road or section of road you want to clean.