Wilton Wilkerson , famously known as Robeson County’s Mr. Clean and Green, is probably saddened by the sight from above — his beloved county covered with trash, particularly our roadsides that too many people continue to consider trashcans.
Wilkerson for years was the loudest voice in an effort to keep this county clean and green, but since his death on March 18, 2007, no one has carried that flag. It looks to us that trash has been piling up in the almost seven years since his death.
If you doubt that, just get in your car for a leisurely drive — and our case will quickly be made. Plainly put, it’s disgusting.
We can think of few things easier than not littering. It simply requires that trash be properly discarded in a trashcan or Dumpster, and not on the side of our roads.
As has been said, there is only once chance to make a good first impression, and those who visit our county or simply pass through on all those littered highways can’t be impressed. This extends to professionals looking for a place to work, and to industrial officials looking to locate a plant. If you are looking for a job, and throw that empty soda can on the side of the highway, you haven’t done yourself any favor in the job hunt.
Thankfully, there are in Robeson County 31 groups participating in the Adopt-A-Highway program that was was established in 1988 by the North Carolina Department of Transportation to keep are roadsides free from litter. But those volunteers only cover a fraction of all the miles of roads and highways in Robeson County, so there is a lot more asphalt that needs to be adopted.
More about that program can be found at the following websites: http://www.ncdot.gov/doh/operations/dp_chief_eng/roadside/Beautification/highway/ and http://keepncbeautiful.org/take-action/adopt-a-highway/
There is also the Sponsor-A-Highway Program, which allows businesses to sponsor state-approved contractors in the cleanup efforts along Interstate 95. More detailed information on that program is also available on the Adopt-A-Highway website.
A few things to know if you decide to join the effort:
— There is no fee to adopt. The only investment you’ll be expected to make is time.
— Adopting a highway requires a four-year agreement between the volunteers and the Department of Transportation.
— Be ready and able to walk, as adopting a highway requires that volunteers are able to pick up litter four times a year. There is also a minimum requirement of adopting at least two miles of highway.
— You’ll receive the tools of the trade at your area DOT office, including orange trash bags, gloves and safety vests.
— Finally, to make your Robeson County highway adoption adoption official, you’ll either need to call 910-618-5543 or fill out an online form here: apps.dot.state.nc.us/aah/NewApplication.aspx.
We encourage you to join the effort. A look around makes it clear that the enemy is large in numbers.