PEMBROKE — Robeson County’s Clean and Green steering committee on Tuesday approved beefing up educational efforts to persuade people to stop littering.
During an hour-long meeting at the Lumber River Council of Government office at COMtech, ideas were kicked around about how to use highway billboards, public service announcements and videos to improve the visibility of the organization’s anti-littering campaign.
Robeson County Commissioner Raymond Cummings, who chairs the committee, said that as time passes people are becoming aware of the need to stop littering and dispose of trash properly.
“Folks are buying into our efforts to keep the county clean and green and are taking action to make it happen,” he said. “As we try to raise the issue and encourage a call for action, very positive things are happening.”
Cumming said that groups throughout the county are holding their own cleanups.
“I know we are going in the right direction when other groups are out there doing the things we are,” he said. “Imitation is the greatest form of flattery.”
Kristina Cummings, Robeson County’s recycling coordinator and coordinator of Clean and Green’s projects, said that during the last year there has been a significant increase in the amount of identified roadside trash being brought to the county landfill in St. Pauls. She said that from Jan. 1 to July 31 of this year there were 75.52 tons of trash identified as being collected along local roadways. During the same period in 2015, she said, 47.33 tons of identified roadside trash was brought to the landfill.
That represents an increase of about 60 percent.
According to Kristina Cummings, there has also been an increase in the number of tickets issued for littering. During the period of Jan. 1, 2016, to July 31, 2016, the number of tickets issued was 49. That was up from only 15 tickets issued during the same period the year before, she said.
Raymond Cummings pointed to the amount of trash collection and number of littering tickets issued as more evidence that people are becoming more aware of the need to stop littering and keep Robeson County clean.
“With those numbers it shows there is positive growth and results from what we are doing,” he said.
By the end of the meeting, the 10 Clean and Green members present agreed that $2,000 should be spent to rent two billboards along Interstate 95 and a third billboard in Lumberton. Also, the group plans to produce and air 30-second public service announcements, create a video that could possibly become part of the driver’s education course provided county school students, and ask that Clean and Green be mentioned at all county school and Park and Recreation Department athletic events.
The committee plans to hold its next meeting on Sept. 27.
Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.