Caring volunteers cleaned up after those who don't

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Heartfelt thanks to all the volunteers and coordinators who devoted their last Saturday morning hours to the task of picking up the trash discarded and left by others in our cities, communities and roadways. I only saw what was brought to the Dumpster at the Carrabelle River Pavilion but that included chairs. electrical wiring, PVC plumbing, construction debris, bar trash and even a complete toilet that a brave volunteer recovered from the frog pond wildlife area on Gulf Avenue.

There were signs including a campaign message from a long-deceased candidate. and another rusted and bent one warning “Danger, Power Line.” There were bags of bottles and cans and even household garbage recovered by people willing to spend their volunteer time cleaning up our communities. These special folks “policed” roadways, park surrounds, under bridges and manageable lengths of our public streets and highways. Although rain threatened, several dozen volunteers filled the Carrabelle pavilion Dumpster with their morning’s hard work. I feel certain that other Dumpsters provided by the county to other central locations were equally well used.
Congratulations and thank you to all those who worked up a sweat under the cloudy skies on behalf of those who chose to use our public areas as their personal trash cans. As volunteers turned in their bags and earned their T-shirts, we thanked them for their service and encouraged them to please return for next year’s regularly scheduled Coastal Clean Up event
“See you next year,” one urged.
“We could do this again next week!” another acknowledged.
What is the mentality that makes some think their personal trash deserves a place on our public properties and waterways? Why do patrons of a business feel it is all right to dump their leftover whatevers outside that business building? And why would any business not assume responsibility to clean up their own area on behalf of their image presented to their own customers? Why should volunteers need to clean up construction debris left for too long on our streets, while whomever deliberately dumped it is spared the appropriate expense of proper disposal? And who is expected to pick up those appliances and furniture too often discarded onto public property?
Many regular walkers carry bags to pick up trash they encounter each day. In another time, our city provided pick-up service for such items. In other days, community service and inmate labor could be used for roadside cleanup. Sadly, times have changed for those opportunities and trash again litters our roadways and beaches, discarded by careless, thoughtless, rude and inconsiderate members of our own society.
“We could do this again next week.” But why should we need to?
Mel Kelly
Proud Coastal Clean Up volunteer

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