Programs across the county and state use the month of April to emphasize the importance of community clean ups. The Annual “Don’t drop it on Alabama” statewide spring cleanup event is a year-round program, but it needs community support.
The Alabama People Against A Littered State (PALS) is a statewide organization dedicated to making Alabama more beautiful by sponsoring programs focused on cleaning up litter in the state's streets, streams, campuses and coastlines.
Roger Byrd with the county’s solid waste management said this initiative takes place all year round and the organization has provided him with trash bags for residents, groups and organizations who would like to help clean up litter in their communities.
“For the whole month of April, they advertise for people to clean up their communities, roadsides and streets,” he said. “The county-wide spring cleanup is kind of an incoordination with ALPALS event but is put on by the DeKalb County Commission, who pays and provides the dumpster to be at the Sandy Valley Landfill for the community.”
Byrd invites civic groups, volunteers, church groups, organizations and neighborhoods to join the drive against littering and clean DeKalb County.
“If there’s anyone interested in picking up litter contact me at 256-845-8532. I would love to hear from them and coordinate to get to provide them with bags,” he said.
Once the litter is picked up at a location, Byrd said if the participants contact him, he will make arrangements to have the trash bags picked up and waste disposed of properly.
“We would love to have groups or organizations who are interested in participating because the only group that I am aware of that really works on a regular basis with litter is the inmate work crew from the sheriff’s department,” he said. “They also have other responsibilities other than that, so they stay busy all the time.”
Byrd said although the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed the DeKalb County inmate work crew this past year and they were not able to clear the roadways as much as in previous years, they are working on trying to get back to full speed but they need help.
“I know at one time [the “Don’t drop it on Alabama” statewide spring cleanup event] was a pretty big thing and there was a lot of participation in cleaning up but it seems like over the years it’s slowed down,” he said.
Byrd encourages the community to report any individuals seen dumping large amounts of garbage in areas creating dumpsites such as side roads and creeks.
“If they witness it call me. That is one of my duties, I go out and work illegal dumping in the county,” he said. “If they can call me immediately I would do my best to get there before they are gone.”
Byrd has been working on illegal dumping incidents for 10 years now. He said it’s a hard crime to catch because most perpetrators go on back roads where they think they won't be seen or are in teams which allows them to dispose of waste faster leaving before he gets there or they are seen.
“If reported, I will do my best to try and look into it and find the responsible person and hold them accountable,” he said.
Reminding residents, DeKalb County clean-up campaign begins Wednesday, April 14, 2021, at 7 a.m. Byrd said he wants the community to know what services are available to aid them in reducing waste and cleaning up unwanted items and at the same time appealing to proactive groups in the county to consider helping pick up litter.
“I would certainly like to hear from groups to do what I can to work with them and see if we can make a difference in our county,” he said.
For information on the “Don’t drop it on Alabama” statewide spring cleanup event or to report illegal dumping, contact Roger Byrd at 256-845-8532 if he is not available he urges callers to leave a brief message and call back number and he will return the call as soon as possible.