I was encouraged recently to see an article published in The Sumter Item which cited a public meeting called by the Sumter Litter Alliance to listen to citizens' concerns and to discuss its efforts to …
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I was encouraged recently to see an article published in The Sumter Item which cited a public meeting called by the Sumter Litter Alliance to listen to citizens' concerns and to discuss its efforts to clean up Sumter County.
Unfortunately, litter has been a long-standing problem in many of our communities, including Sumter and Sumter County.
It is a known fact that one of the shrewdest ways to begin to attack any challenge or problem is to start with the basics. The Sumter Litter Alliance, in my opinion, is doing well to listen to citizens and then implement plans to attack the problem at hand.
I have often wondered why many citizens in our county seem to feel that it's someone else's job to clean up the trash that they discard with impunity. There are some areas of the county that are worse than others, but no area is unaffected. I, and many others, have seen bags filled with garbage that have just been tossed in secluded and not-so-secluded locations seemingly with no guilt or compulsion. Drive down almost any highway or travel on almost any street in Sumter or Sumter County, and you will see too much trash or litter.
Also, certain businesses right in the city of Sumter need to do a better job of cleaning up around their establishments. I observed one business where its Dumpster had been emptied, and the trash that was left remained in the same location for days in full view. Several other businesses on main accesses to our city and within the city also let trash and debris remain on their property for extended periods of time. I could cite some of these by name but will refrain from doing so, hoping that the current push by the Sumter Litter Alliance will move them to action on their own.
In recent years, we have attracted several major businesses to the Sumter County area, and it is disturbing that one of the challenges we have is that too many of our citizens and businesses are not sensitive to the negative impression and impact that a trash-laden landscape give. Education is always a great tool to use when embarking upon any issue, challenge or concern, so I applaud any efforts to keep our citizens, young and mature, aware that all of us need to take the litter problem as a personal responsibility and do something to improve it.
If every citizen and/or business would look around their personal spaces to see what can be done to improve their surroundings and lead a personal effort to do something about it, things would improve immensely.
I also challenge the Sumter Litter Alliance to take its efforts to another level by coming up with non-monetary incentives for businesses, for example, that maintain their property in an acceptable and sustained manner to be rewarded in some kind of way. This could also be extended to citizens as well in the city and county who also maintain their property as previously mentioned. I will note here with pride, however, that there are many private citizens and businesses in the Sumter area that are currently and have for a long time done a great job in keeping their properties attractively maintained and free from debris and litter.
There is no one who should get a free pass when it comes to keeping our city and county clean, but if one takes no pride in maintaining a good image for the city and county, the problem will persist.
Law enforcement, private citizens, city and county officials, businesses and civic-minded organizations need to all play a part in keeping the place we all call home attractive and inviting. I hope that the Sumter Litter Alliance will keep up its efforts and not be discouraged because in reality, it takes a while for efforts to take hold when it comes to changing human behavior, but the sustained efforts will pay off in the end.
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