Editorial: Annual cleanup effort puts trash in its place
For television aficionados of a certain age, it was an iconic commercial, one with a powerful message that still resonates today.
The minute-long ad, accompanied by an ominous musical score, portrays a Native American man paddling his canoe along a river, past a series of smoke-belching factories and onto a shore besieged by litter.
After disembarking his watercraft, he approaches a highway where several commuters toss trash from their moving vehicles, a bag landing and splattering near his feet. This proud man, whose ancestors were original caretakers of this land, stops, turns slowly toward the camera and reveals a large tear descending from his right eye.
This was a “Keep America Beautiful” commercial that ran for much of the 1970s and hit home with a lot of people – while, in truth, having little impact on curbing pollution and litter.
Although the enactment of environmental laws has greatly reduced pollution, it still exists, and littering lamentably remains prevalent. It’s far from uncommon to see garbage strewn all along the sides of our highways. It’s unsightly, its sad and it serves as a testament to how thoughtless, uncaring, and downright lazy some people can be. Even laws with the threat of fines or jail time do not seem to deter these litterbugs.
These ongoing social and ecological issues are why the Great American Cleanup, sponsored by the Keep American Beautiful organization, is still an annual necessity. Each spring, groups and organizations nationwide schedule cleanup events at local venues, usually on Saturdays, where teams of volunteers make their way about towns and cities, picking up trash and debris that someone else has discarded.
You’ll see some of these volunteers doing their civic duty on Saturday. In its 21st year as an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, the Keep Florence Beautiful Board of Directors, along with individuals, churches, nonprofit organizations, political organizations, businesses and schools, will join hands in cleaning up Florence.
Volunteers will clean their designated areas and then meet up at Southern Hops Brewing Company where teams turn in their clean up reports between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Also, The Great South Carolina Cleanup is going on now through June. PalmettoPride, the state organization that sponsors the annual event, is focusing on the week of April 15-21 leading up to Earth Day on April 22.
The kickoff for the Keep South Carolina Beautiful campaign will also take place on Saturday, with Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette and Friends of the Reedy River.
To all the folks who have rolled up their sleeves or will on Saturday to put trash in its place, we say thank you. To the good folks at Keep Florence Beautiful, we say keep up the good work.