Hed: Itawamba County cleanup campaign runs through Saturday
By Eileen Bailey
MANTACHIE – Despite dark clouds and a threaten of rain, several volunteers gathered along the Shiloh Church Road last weekend to pick up trash.
Keeping trash off this road is an ongoing battle, residents said, and they hope that after this cleanup day motorists will think twice before tossing litter out their windows.
Nina Googe, chairman of the Itawamba Glad Bag-A-thon, and others got a jump last Saturday on the fourth annual effort to clean up Itawamba County. The actual starting date of the weeklong campaign was Monday. It will end this Saturday with a collection center at the Fulton Wal-Mart.
This is the fourth year Itawamba County has been chosen to take part in the Glad Bag-A-thon, sponsored by Glad. The only other city in the state participating is Columbus.
Glad supplies the trash bags and some prizes for each community selected, Googe said. This year there are 19 industries and 16 clubs participating in the cleanup. The more than 1,200 volunteers, armed with trash bags, target a certain area to fill their bags with road litter. The bags are then gathered and later picked up by the county, she said.
As she worked her way down the hill from state Highway 371, Googe picked up a glass beer bottle and dumped the water inside. “I feel like the people who do this do not live in this community. I don’t think they would throw this out if they lived in this community,” she said. “You wouldn’t want to have this in your back yard.”
Last year, working on the same hill, Googe said 184 bags were filled, although this year there weren’t as many. After last year’s cleanup day on the road, Googe said nothing felt better than to turn onto the road and see clean ground.
But one year later, litter filled the ditches and roadside. “Litter is a real problem countywide,” she said. “I didn’t think it would get this bad again.”
Diane Thompson and her brother-in-law Ralph Thompson, armed with boxes of bags, worked on part of Shiloh Church Road near their homes. “We are doing this because we would like to see the road cleaned,” Diane Thompson said.
She agreed that the litter is most likely coming from people who do not live in the area. “It is a good community,” she said. “People should have more pride.”
The cleanup will culminate Saturday with a collection of paper and aluminum cans for recycling from schoolchildren beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at 2 p.m.