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Walker County, let’s talk about littering

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During a recent drive through the north Georgia mountains, I couldn’t help but notice that area did not have a problem with litter. The drive took us through some very rural areas, and I hardly saw a speck of trash along the roadways.

Even in the most affluent zip code in Walker County, 35504, I see litter all the time. North Walston Bridge Road many times looks like a dumpsite in areas.

Why is Walker County so trashy? Sorry, but if the shoe fits, we have to admit it, and then do something to solve the problem.

I have long thought we have a problem with self-esteem in our county. The people who live here constantly talk down about their community. Nothing is ever good enough. Things are always terrible. There’s nothing here.

Here’s a thought: If it is so terrible here, move somewhere else. Pack your stuff up and go. If a wave of negativity left Walker County, it would change our community for the better like it has never been changed before.

If you are going to live here, at least have enough self-respect and respect for our area to not throw trash anywhere other than a proper trash receptacle. 

Litter crews working for Jasper and the county spend countless hours picking up trash each week. Litter crews shouldn’t have to be a thing at all. Litter shouldn’t be a thing at all.

People who litter are either ignorant or don’t care.

Littering is also a generational problem. If children see their parents constantly tossing trash out of their vehicle, of course, they wouldn’t see anything wrong with it, because mom and dad are always doing the right thing in their eyes. It is going to take litter education in our schools to correct the problem if parents aren’t doing the right thing.

The Daily Mountain Eagle (and me specifically) would like to do something to fight this issue. We’ve written about the litter problem for years, but it is going to take a grassroots effort to end the issue.

I would like to see an anti-litter group started in our county. I will be glad to help organize the group. We need county and municipal governments to help, as well as our two school boards and Sumiton Christian School. COVID-19 should not be as much a factor for the next school year. Somehow, I would like to see us reach each school in the county in some form or fashion. 

My vision is that we find really strong motivational speakers to talk about self-worth and other underlying issues that may not be specific to litter but are contributing factors to that behavior. If we can’t afford to bring speakers to every school, we can at least have local officials who care about this subject to come speak to students and leave information concerning littering and the issues it causes.

Anyone interested in helping with an anti-litter initiative can reach me at the contact information below.

Walker County is beautiful. We have scenery that stacks up against anywhere in the southeast. But that beauty is compromised when litterbugs can’t do better than living in trash. Just like my trip through the north Georgia mountains, people should be driving through Walker County and talking about its beauty instead of the trash along our roads.

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James Phillips is editor and publisher of the Daily Mountain Eagle. Litterbugs make his skin crawl. He may be reached at 205-221-2840 or james.phillips@mountaineagle.com.