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Your Views: We all can do our part to pick up litter, clean up community
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There is a cost to having a littered community. I appreciate those who become another set of eyes, making us aware of where our worst littered areas are. I am grateful to all those who care enough about our Hall County community and assist us in the eradication of litter. You are much appreciated by so many.

Personally, I have been involved in community cleanups for over 20 years. Each year, Keep Hall Beautiful (an affiliate of Keep Georgia and Keep America Beautiful) sets a goal for the number of pounds of litter we hope to remove from Hall County’s streets. We have exceeded our goal for several years now.

As an example, in 2010, Keep Hall Beautiful removed 45,150 pounds of litter from our streets. In 2011, 61,540 pounds were picked up. In 2012, the total was 83,220 pounds, and in 2013, it was 98,066 pounds. For 2014, our total was 112,094 pounds. We hope to reach 120,000 pounds this year.

While we have a lot to be proud of in these great accomplishments, the fact remains that there is far too much litter on our streets. The state Department of Transportation spends millions of dollars each year to eradicate litter. Our community, through its local governments, spends hundreds of thousands keeping its highways and byways clean.

Nobody would object if our roads were littered with $100 bills. Recruiting people to pick up the green litter would not be a challenge. It might even become a pleasure.

The relationships I have developed with individuals and groups has become more important and more valuable that a lot of money. Litter doesn’t pick up itself. All of us want a clean and litter-free community.

Therefore, we must all be involved, even if we didn’t create the unsightly stuff. We must take responsibility for our own property and assist in caring for common property which belongs to our community. If a handful of people (comparatively speaking) can pick up over 100,000 pounds of litter each year, then think what all of us can do if we work together to keep Hall County clean and beautiful.

Studies have shown that the more heavily littered neighborhoods have higher crime rates. Litter can be viewed as an invitation to commit crime. We are working hard to keep litter off the streets in Hall County. Education and enforcement of litter laws are two other important ways to keep our streets clean. Schools, homes, businesses and environmental groups help with education.

We can all help with the enforcement of litter laws simply by reporting it when you see littering taking place. We need to do better. We are capable of this.

Please come out and help us eradicate litter from our community. Our next community cleanup will take place Feb. 28. Check Keep Hall Beautiful’s Facebook page for time and location or simply call Keep Hall Beautiful at 770-531-1102.

Also, to report heavily-littered areas that you would like cleaned up in a timely manner, call Scott Broome at Keep Hall Beautiful or call me at 770-561-3060. Looking forward to getting to know you and in keeping our county clean.

George Wangemann
Gainesville city councilman

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