There is a sinister, pernicious, noxious habit that has invaded Macon-Bibb County. Its purveyors aren’t rats and rodents or insects, although it draws them to it. This habit is completely spread by homo sapiens. And if we had the small brain of an extinct homo erectus, we would have better sense than to spread our debris for all to see in all sorts of places with the exception of trash receptacles.
Certainly, Macon-Bibb is not the only area where this maddening problem exists, but it does seem we have an overabundance of people who care little about throwing their trash onto roadways. You name it, you’ll find it on our interstate off ramps — bottles, cans, candy wrappers, fast food bags, cigarette butts and God knows what else. County leaders have attempted to be nice, but the gloves are coming off. The Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful Commission is starting — we are embarrassed to say — a litter hotline. Yes, it has come to this, and not a moment too soon.
Borrowing the idea from the Keep Athens-Clarke County Beautiful Commission, a dedicated hotline at KMBBC, 478-330-7053, has been set up where people can call if they witness someone throwing trash from a vehicle. They will need to give the license plate number and state, description of the car or truck, type of trash, location, date and time. And, while we don’t advocate taking a picture while driving, if a passenger snaps one of the culprit that would be OK.
The sheriff’s office would investigate, and the owner of the vehicle would get a warning letter the first time around. If a second offense occurs, the fine could be hefty. Will the Law Enforcement Center suddenly fill up with litter offenders? Probably not, but just the fact that someone could be watching may cause a litterer to think twice and hold onto that trash until it can be properly disposed of.
Aside from the hotline, we have to do a better job training our young residents that littering is not cool. We have to be bold. We shouldn’t be afraid to tell people who drops trash on the ground, “Oh, excuse me, you dropped something.” Even if they laugh us off, they’ll know someone is watching and maybe change their behavior.