Columbia County's Clean and Beautiful committee is issuing a challenge to county residents - clean up the county.
The committee announced the five-week challenge Sept. 1 for residents to make the county a cleaner and more beautiful place by adopting roadways, identifying roads in need of cleanup attention and encouraging others not to litter.
Volunteers of Boy Scout Troop 615 pick up trash on Furys Ferry Road as part of the Adaopt-A-Highway program.
"We are caretakers of (the county)," said Lillian-Katharine Blanos, director of Metro Augusta Clean and Beautiful. "We need to keep Columbia the number one county. It takes unique, talented and caring people. I know this county is full of those kinds of people."
All residents are being asked to participate in the county's first annual Columbia County Cleanup Day on Oct. 12. Blanos and Augusta's Clean and Beautiful have been enlisted to help organize the cleanup drive as Augusta has had many successful ones. The two organizations will hold cleanup days on the same day.
On this day, anyone can volunteer to pick up litter at any of the "hot spots," which are roads already noted as needing attention, or in their own neighborhoods. There will be several sign-in locations, where volunteers can pick up provided gloves, vests and bags.
If volunteers want to clean up around their own neighborhood or have a road in mind to clean, supplies can be sent in advance by calling Blanos or John Graham, county drive coordinator. Blanos asks that if volunteers do not use provided supplies, they can call and report the number of bags of litter they picked up so the committee can keep track.
"We are not only trying to rid the county of litter, but we will be mentors to other people to get out there with us," Blanos said. "Hopefully, we will reach people that do litter."
Most litter comes out of moving cars with the most being fast-food containers, cigarette butts and soda cans and bottles, Blanos said, which is why roads have a large litter problem.
The committee already has identified 15 roads or road segments, with others being approved that need a little extra attention because of heavy use or neglect. They include: Tubman Road, Stevens Creek Road, Wrightsboro Road, Newmantown Road, Old Union Road, Fairview Drive, Old Petersburg Road, Hereford Farm Road, Steed Road, The Pass, Clark Point Road, Cox Road, Blanchard Road and Macks Road at Old Union Road.
The committee hopes that this cleanup will be the first of many for the county as they plan to have one annually in the spring and fall.
Anyone can volunteer as long as they are older than 12. Long pants and protective and comfortable shoes or boots are recommended but not required.
The committee is asking residents to do a few things during the challenge period up to the cleanup day.
* Identify roads segments and small "hot spots" needing special attention because of littler accumulation.
* Volunteer to clean up places not yet being given attention.
* Identify schools and professional or civic groups that will cooperate by educating students and members with certain visual aids and guests.
* Help or encourage smokers to use special butt dispensers that the county can provide.
* Help or encourage local shop owners with nearby litter problems to have employees police the grounds daily.
* Help or encourage truckers with loose loads to keep them from blowing to the waysides by using covers and retaining tailgates in upright positions.
* Develop new methods for picking up litter such as cigarette butts.
Groups or individuals can adopt a mile of roadway joining the 23 teams already participating in the county's Adopt-A-Highway program. All that is required is an organized cleanup of the 1-mile stretch six times a year.
"That is all it takes to become involved with cleaning Columbia County," Blanos said. "It is that simple. it is only a mile stretch. That is what is good about it."
After the cleanup, the committee will serve barbecue at the Columbia County Justice Center and Courthouse Annex in appreciation of the volunteers and their work. Filled litter bags can be brought there to show and dispose of.
Helping mosquito control is even a part of litter control.
"If you see a can of water along the road, take a moment and empty it," Blanos said.
For more information about the cleanup day or cleanup challenge, or to sign up or recommend an area to be cleaned, contact Blanos at (706) 261-4390 or via e-mail at email@example.com or Graham at (706) 868-0296 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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