The Baldwin County Commission took steps Tuesday evening toward formulating a trash task force comprised of concerned local citizens. While the parameters of the task force and its specific duties and responsibilities are still taking shape, it should certainly be of little surprise that litter and garbage and how the issue is addressed — or not addressed — in Baldwin County is indeed a concern.
Based on Tuesday’s commission meeting, several interested parties have been contacted about joining the trash task force and there is a genuine interest. It should be no surprise that citizens are interested in the task force, as litter and garbage collection impact everyone who lives in Baldwin County. The idea for the task force resulted from a discussion held in February during a county work session, another example of the types of ideas that can result when county officials work together in these work session formats.
The central goal, first and foremost, that this new task force should address is roadside litter. While there have been efforts made in the past, through volunteer and independent community groups and Keep Milledgeville-Baldwin Beautiful, there seems to be no unified, effective force to address the issue that has been consistent. The new task force can help in this endeavor.
Refuse along roadways, spillage and trash that flies off the trash trucks, is another important concern that should be a focal point of the task force as well.
Another key issue the task force should focus on is roadside blight. While some may see this as a concern that reaches beyond this group’s intended focus, blight — junk cars, unkempt and unoccupied properties — is a form of litter that does indeed affect this community, particularly at the gateways leading into Baldwin County. The county has attempted to address this issue in the past and has been met with objection from residents and some business owners. It may be possible, however, that getting together citizens with varying backgrounds can provide commissioners with different perspectives and suggestions that may help them in firming up a policy or ordinance that can bring about positive results. We must remember that the community’s gateways, its corridors, help to form a first impression for visitors, and how they look — their upkeep and appearance — is vitally important.
According to Tuesday’s meeting, county officials have contacted law enforcement, Advanced Disposal, the Georgia Department of Transportation, court, education and economic development representatives to join the effort. Student representatives from the local school system can also help, making the impact of litter reduction resonate with a younger generation.
When we think long and hard about how litter may look to those passing through the local community — how it undoubtedly appears to visitors or even prospective residents or business owners — we realize just how much of an impact it has and how important it is to address these issues. Combating the local litter issues is possible when interested parties make working together to address it a priority. The new trash task force can be effective with the right follow through in addressing these concerns, but these efforts must not be like others in the past. The task force must be consistent and focused on its goals and the level of change it seeks.