PEMBROKE — Robeson County is getting cleaner and greener this year than this past year, according to a report from the Robeson County Solid Waste Department.
More than twice the amount of roadside trash has been turned in so far in 2017, compared with 2016 at the same time, said Christina Cummings, Robeson County’s director of recycling. More than 207 tons of trash have been turned into the Solid Waste Department compared with 83 tons in 2016.
“This is a good sign,” Cummings said Thursday during the monthly meeting of the Robeson County Clean and Green Committee. “The total is probably much higher because we can’t identify all the litter that is turned in.”
Enforcement of littering also has stepped up, Cummings reported. Two-hundred-and-23 tickets have been issued so far this year versus 85 over the same period in 2016.
“Law enforcement officers are able to get names and addresses from roadside trash,” Cummings said.
“Law enforcement needs to work in nontraditional ways to address littering,” Maxton Police Chief Tammy Deese said. “We were able to use video footage as evidence in one recent case.”
“Our numbers have more than doubled, but we’re hoping for more,” committee Chairman Raymond Cummings said. “We’re getting new reports from farmers of shingles being dumped in the county.”
Much of the trash is collected as part of a state Department of Transportation program, but volunteers also play a big part. Churches, schools and the Lumbee Tribe are key partners.
The United Way of Robeson County, which partners with many county organizations, was at the table Thursday represented by Leah Lewis.
“We are looking for ways to pitch in,” Lewis said. “I have a couple of ideas that I will discuss with our director.”
The Clean and Green program has maintained a busy marketing schedule, Christina Cummings said. Clean and Green signs appeared in the Lumbee Homecoming Parade in July and are scheduled as part of the Lumberton Christmas Parade in November. There also will be a booth at the Robeson County Fair later this month.
The Clean and Green Committee has three mobile signs. The message they carry is seen routinely on Lamar Advertising billboards and on digital signs across the county, including at the Lumbee Tribe’s office.
One of the committee’s less successful efforts is an attempt to form a partnership with the Public Schools of Robeson County.
“We are trying to work with the driver’s education program right now,” Christina Cummings said.
“We are still waiting on the Public Schools of Robeson County partnership,” Raymond Cummings said. “They are very busy at this time.”
In other action, the committee agreed to join the North Carolina Clean Sweep program later in September and will begin seeking volunteers.
Scott Bigelow can be reached at 910-416-5649.