Earth Day is on April 22, 2021 and Little River Waterkeeper is asking citizens to help keep litter from entering our waterways. Litter is an ongoing issue that is detrimental to the natural world and can cause negative outcomes to the economy. It is a problem that we all need to address and it can be done by taking action in small ways.

Keep a few garbage bags in your vehicle to stow away litter. Please do not throw it out the window. Litter along the roadways find their way to nearby streams and rivers. It can harm wildlife when they mistake it for food or get entangled. It also pollutes our water in the form of microplastics which is impossible to get out of drinking water. They have even been found in the human body.

Remember to clean up loose litter around your garbage can after it is dumped to prevent it from washing or blowing away. Take responsibility for areas around your home or business.

Never place litter in a truck bed. Lightweight items easily blow out.

If you find your garbage can overflowing every week, Recycle. I promise this action will reduce the amount of waste that is going into your garbage can. It will also lessen the amount of waste going to the landfill.

Try to plan a cleanup in your neighborhood, church or place of business at least twice a year or consider volunteering for community cleanups . Early spring before the grass pops up and late fall are the best times of the year to remove litter from roadways.

Teach youth and different cultures about the importance of not littering. We live in a beautiful part of the State but we are beginning to look like we don’t care about our appearance to visitors. Tourism is the number one industry in Dekalb County and people coming here on vacation notice the amount of litter that accumulates along our roadways. Litter has made us miss opportunities for economic growth. Industries have considered Fort Payne as a new location but decided that a littered community is a direct reflection of its people. We can do better as a collective whole but everyone needs to take part in a solution.

Little River Waterkeeper is a local nonprofit organization based in Fort Payne with a mission to foster and protect the pristine resource through education, awareness and monitoring.

Angie Shugart, Fort Payne, Alabama

Send letters to the Times-Journal by writing P.O. Box 680349, Fort Payne, AL 35968. Fax 256-845-7459. Email emily.kirby@times-journal.com.

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