Green talks trash to Brundidge Rotarians

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 19, 2000

Features Editor

Jan. 18, 2000 10 PM

The Brundidge Rotarians are "tired" of litter and they just can’t get enough of it.

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For more than 10 years, the Brundidge Rotary Club has participated in the Adopt-A-Mile program which is sponsored by PALS (People Against A Littered State) and were honored by PALS as the top Adopt-A-Mile program in the state in 1999.

Each weekend, a team of Rotarians walks their mile gathering litter, sometimes only to see it strewn again the next morning. However, the Rotarians are determined not to give up.

The Rotarians are not only interested in their mile, but in all of Brundidge and Pike County and, on Wednesday, they invited Samuel Green, Pike County solid waste enforcement officer, as guest speaker for their lunch meeting. And, of course, they talked trash.

Green has been involved in combating litter for 20 years and he told the Rotarians about some of the challenges he faces every day in cleaning up Pike County.

Green said he come on board as the county’s solid waste enforcement officer in 1977 and has seen conditions improve greatly over the years.

"Back then, we had two big trucks and a pickup and about 360 roadside dumps," Green said. "People called me the garbage man but I didn’t mind. It was my job to get the county cleaned up and, if they wanted to call me the garbage man, that was okay with me."

Green said the biggest problem was that county residents didn’t have garbage pickup and they had to dispose of their own garbage.

"The either had to burn it or throw it in the gully and that’s what they did," he said. "And most of it went in the gully."

Green used the term "gully" as a general term. Dump sites were everywhere – along the roadside, in the woods and in the creeks and rivers. County roads weren’t on the scenic route.

But when garbage pickup was made mandatory in the county, the number of dump site began to decrease.

"County residents had someone to pickup their garbage and they stopped dumping it on the roadside and our county stated to look better," Green said. "That’s not to say there is no more roadside dumping but it’s not anywhere like it used to be."

Among the items most often dumped on roadsides are tires.

Tires are a big problem because they are toxic and can’t go in solid waste landfills, Green said.

"You have to pay to have them hauled off so people just dump them instead and there’s a heavy fine if you get caught," Green said. "We always watching because improper disposal of tires in a big problem."

Green said he has not found a way to persuade motorist from tossing trashing from their vehicles, leaving and unsightly mess along Pike County’s highways and roadways.

He said it is difficult to catch someone in the act of tossing trash but it can be done and has been done.

And the fine for littering could make a $500 hit on a litterbug’s wallet.

Green said the best defense against litter is to educate the public, increase awareness of the negative effects of littering and instill pride in the community.

"We all want to be proud of where we live and work and we can’t be if there is trash along the road and garbage in our rivers and forests. If you go to another state and see how litter free it is, it makes you wonder why we can’t do the same thing. We do want Alabama to be litter free and we need to start at home."