Here's how you can get involved in anti-litter effort

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Are you fed up with the litter around town? And excited about the strides the community has already taken the past several months in tackling the unsightly mess? We need your help.

First, the mayors of Cape Girardeau and Jackson have issued challenges to their communities to be litter-free by Independence Day. Cleanup help around your home and workplace is appreciated. By each of us pitching in a little, we can make great strides together.

Several groups are also organizing mass cleanups during the next couple weeks. Here at the Southeast Missourian and Concord Printing, we've designated June 21 as a cleanup day. Southeast Missourian and Concord associates will be walking several downtown blocks with trash bags in hand during the early evening.

If you're a member of a civic club, church group, fraternity or sorority, and you're not already involved in a group cleanup and you want to be, contact Tracey Glenn, Cape Girardeau's information coordinator, at 335-8556. She'll put you in touch with the proper folks in Cape, Jackson, Scott City and Chaffee.

The second way you can help is by joining in a long-term plan to attack litter at the source --- before it gets to the point of needing cleanups. An areawide committee with members from city and county government, the Missouri Department of Transportation, law enforcement, businesses, chambers of commerce, the university, private individuals and more was formed to plan this attack. And one of its subcommittees has been charged specifically with putting together the long-term strategy.

That committee is seeking your help. After much research, it is recommending that this area's anti-litter and beautification effort affiliate with Keep America Beautiful, the leading national organization in community beautification.

Why re-invent the wheel if the tools already exist? Keep America Beautiful not only helps with educational efforts, but it identifies the areas of town where litter is likely to start -- transition points like entries and exits to the highway, fast food and gas station parking lots -- and puts forth successful strategies for curtailing the likelihood of litter. Where are the best places to put public trash cans, for example? Keep America Beautiful helps answer the question so a community gets more bang for the buck.

Affiliating with Keep America Beautiful is roughly $250 a year on an ongoing basis. But the initiation fee for our area -- including all of Cape Girardeau County, Scott City and Chaffee -- is over $3,000. Sub-committee chairman David Ludwig needs your help. He is seeking to develop a grassroots movement that pays for the Keep America Beautiful affiliation. You can join that movement by sending a donation to: SeMissourian Anti-litter Campaign, P.O. Box 699, Cape Girardeau, MO 63702.

To aid in fund raising, the Southeast Missourian will match 50 cents for every dollar raised up to $1,000. So, if $2,000 is raised from individuals and businesses like yours, the Southeast Missourian will match with $1,000, and we'll be on our way to affiliation with Keep America Beautiful.

Send in your donation today -- by check please -- or come to the Missourian offices in Cape, Jackson or Chaffee to drop off a donation. Help stop litter before it starts.

Jon K. Rust is publisher of the Southeast Missourian. E-mail: jrust@semissourian.com.

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