Sunday's countywide litter pickup efforts, sponsored by the Walker County Commission and People Against a Littered State (PALS), was a good effort on Saturday.
The numbers are not in, but it is clear that a good bit of trash was picked up from our roadsides. District 1 Walker County Commissioner Keith Davis said volunteers and crews in his district picked up 40 bags by noon - even though he has regular pickup about six days a week with a work release crew, bringing in 200 bags a week.
Crews fanned out across the county, and even in the municipalities. Some extra efforts were made within the City of Jasper, for example.
But as commissioners have pointed out, just as soon as they pick up the litter, someone is throwing it out again; the District 1 situation indicates it is almost impossible to catch up. Much like the 1960s and 1970s, we need a renewed effort in the schools to put the idea inside our youth to not throw it away. That is what happened when we were younger, and we influenced not only each other but our parents.
But somehow that push has dimmed somewhat. It is easy to see how, as we are saturated with fast-food cups, cartons, paper and the like, and that has been the easiest to throw out. Placing a tax on the fast food might fund efforts, but it seems excessive, and it probably won't matter a hill of beans (in a sealed styrofoam cup). What we need is the urgency among our children to understand this is the only planet we have, and it looks like we have enough multiple environmental problems without regressing on litter.
We also should have more pickups, perhaps going back to Adopt-a-Mile, and we should strongly figure out ways to get more volunteers, as we were disappointed more people didn't show up, judging from what we say. At 10 a.m. it was all but declared over in District 2, and we can tell you Prospect Road in Carbon Hill still needed (and needs) some attention. Lots of it. We doubt that is the only area.
We are glad we got some of the clean up done, but we see much more to do, and more consistently throughout the year. Let us find multiple ways to address this problem and find a way to keep our county cleaner to attract new industry, residents, tourists and to make it a safer, nicer county in general.