CLEAN, GREEN EFFORT: Volunteers spend day cleaning up

Published 12:46 am Saturday, April 27, 2019

More than 100 bags of trash were picked up during the Clean Up Covington County Event Friday.

“All of the trash that we picked today is just a drop in the bucket compared to the problem that we face each day,” Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Chrissie Duffy said. “The biggest part of today wasn’t the trash that was picked up, but the awareness that we drew because of all of the volunteers that helped out and all of the people that drove on the road and saw us out here picking up trash.”

Duffy said that even the smallest piece of trash is a problem.

“Hopefully, people will start respecting that and will start picking up their waste,” Duffy said. “Even the unintentional litterers are part of the problem. A lot of the stuff that we picked up today, I feel, was accidently dropped out of the back of a truck or something along those lines, but it is still a problem.”

Covington County Emergency Management Agency assistant director Frank Shaffer said that if people would start policing their own area, then it would make it a lot easier on the county.

“If everyone would just police their own garbage, by putting it in their own receptacle, that would be a start,” Shaffer said. “Because if you’re putting it in the back of your pickup truck or in your car then wind can come and blow it out.”

Several agencies partnered to pick up trash on Debro Hill and on U.S. Hwy. 29 North from Straughn School Road to the Cynergy gas station.

Duffy said that there are several simple changes that will render cleaner air and water in the county.

“It’s something that everyone and anyone can do,” Duffy said. “And if we can all buy into that it would actually make a huge difference. Some of those things that we are pushing are refusing and reducing excess waste. I’m talking about getting a reusable drink container instead of a disposable drink cup. It seems simple, but the disposable drink cups are major offenders in waste and roadside litter. Another major offender is disposable plastic shopping bags. There are at least  100 million put into circulation in the nation and less than 5 percent are recycled, so people can use a reusable bag or if it is just a couple of items just refuse to use a bag. Those are just some simple changes that can make a huge difference.”

The City of Andalusia offers a free curbside recycling program and Duffy said that even citizens that do not live in the city limits are able to participate in the program.

“Even if you don’t live in the city limits, you can pick up a green recycling bag,” Duffy said. “You can bring those bags back to the recycling center on Progress Drive in the city free of charge. We conducted a survey and we found out that there was a lot of confusion about what people thought could go into the green recycling bag. We have come up with a recycle right graph, which will clear up some of those uncertainties and that can be downloaded from our website.”

Duffy said that another part of their initiative to go green is offering a Clean and Green Starter Kit for citizens.

“In the kit, we will offer a reusable drink cup, reusable shopping bags, green recycling bags, litter trash bags and the recycle right graphic,” Duffy said. “We will distribute those kits at the Chamber of Commerce and through local grocery stores.”

All over the nation, cities and counties have problems with trash and waste, Duffy said.

“This isn’t just an Andalusia problem or even a Covington County problem,” Duffy said. “People are having problems all over the state and nation with litter and excess waste. That is why we have events like these so we can get out there and clean up as much as we can and raise awareness as much as we can.”

After cleaning up U.S. Hwy. 29 North, the group took a small break and tackled parts of Opp as well.