CLEANUP CREW: County litter pickup program begins

Published 9:17 pm Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Six work release inmates made worked their way down the side of County Road 4408 Tuesday morning near Brundidge, picking cups, bags and other trash out of the tall grass.

The crew’s van trailed a few feet behind, hauling a trailer already filled with garbage from work earlier that morning on Henderson Highway.

It was only 11:30 a.m.

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This is the third week of the county’s new litter program, which makes use of six work release inmates three days a week to clean up the county’s roadsides.

County Engineer Russell Oliver said the plan is to start with the county’s major collector roads, starting in the southwest and working their way clockwise.

The crew was out on County Road 4408 Tuesday on special request from the commission. Oliver said the crew would be working in special requests from the commissioners while continuing on with the strategy to sweep the county.

Already, the work is making an impact, Oliver said.

“The roads they’ve done definitely look much better,” Oliver said. “They’ve also been able to remove larger items that would interfere with vegetation management like mowing or trimming.”

It’s too soon to know when the major roads will be completed, Oliver said, but he asked for residents to be patient as he expects it will take months just to get through all the major roads.

“We’re very thankful to be able to have this program, but we can only cover so many roads in a given amount of time,” Oliver said. “Once we finish with the major roads, we’ll try to go back then and get the roads that we skipped on our first round.”

Commissioner Russell Johnson, District 6, said the $45,000 plan is one part of a three-prong approach to reducing the county’s litter problem.

“Probably the best thing we could have done was to get the 4-H program back into schools to teach the kids about not littering,” Johnson said.

The county has already worked alongside the Pike County Extension Office to reintroduce the program.

Johnson said the next step is to work on strengthening litter laws to further discourage people from tossing trash onto Pike County roadsides.

Oliver said public participation will still be crucial to keeping the county’s litter problems at bay.

“If all the citizens will cooperate with us, we can really improve this litter problem in our county,” Oliver said. “We would ask that citizens please help us keep these roads clean. There’s usually a trash receptacle at whatever your destination happens to be; please wait until you get there instead of throwing it out on the roadside – that would really help.”

Oliver said the county will still be continuing with other litter programs as well to try to stay on top of the litter problem.

“We would still invite individuals and groups to participate in the PALS (People Against a Littered State) spring cleanup later this month,” Oliver said.

The spring cleanup will be held from April 20 – 27. Renee Green, office manager at the Pike County Road Department, will be coordinating the event.

Residents who want to participate in the event can contact Green at 566-4508 for more information.