A spring drive in East Texas. Beauty abounds, unless you're on 'Keep Nacogdoches Beautiful' litter patrol.
Executive Director Cheryl Boyette lines out community leaders who are establishing a litter rating for Nacogdoches County. "What I want you to do is look at the trash on your side of the road and we'll establish a rating for how bad it is," instructs Boyette to her litter patrol.
Roadway sections are randomly surveyed to give a fair representation of the county's litter problem. The driver keeps an eye on the odometer and shouts, "You can go ahead and start." About a mile down the road he cries out, "Okay you can stop."
When Boyette is seeing more litter than her passengers she has everyone get out of the van for a closer look. "It looked like a zero litter site, so lets look around and see what we really see," said Boyette on the roadside stop. Boyette has an eye for litter. "You have aluminum cans. I see trash up there, paper, a diaper," pointed out Boyette.
Boyette informed her listeners that you can learn a lot about people's litter habits through these surveys. "The next time you turn off a busy road you'll notice more litter. That's because people throw it here because they don't want anyone to see them."
Then trash becomes someone else's problem. Millions of tax dollars are spent picking up litter. Rakesh Williams will get a paycheck this week for loading up the litter. "You got to keep dumping bags. The truck is probably full right now, full of litter."
Chances are Williams and other workers will not become litterers. Research has found once people pick up litter, they seldom become violators.
Awareness is the goal. Nacogdoches County Precinct 2 Commissioner Reggie Cotton learned, "That we need more participation from the county. Also the community needs to help."
Beautification, clean up and solutions for problem areas may soon come, benefiting everyone. Boyette wants people to know that, "Litter is an economic issue in our community. It's a health issue. It's a quality of life issue, so we want to try to get it in hand."
There are ways you can get involved to fight littering. On April 2nd the 'Don't Mess With Texas Trash Off' will be held. In Nacogdoches the event starts at 9:00 a.m. at the 'C.L. Simon' Recreation Center.