Anti-litter committee revives campaign

Friday, October 28, 2005

A local group plans to wage a "don't drop it, stop it" advertising campaign and affiliate with the Keep America Beautiful organization to combat litter in the region.

The campaign will include ads that will run in the Southeast Missourian with the slogan: "Litter, Don't drop it. Stop it. Show-me you can."

An anti-litter committee earlier this year spearheaded efforts to clean up litter in Cape Girardeau, Jackson and Scott City, and in Cape Girardeau County. But the entire committee hasn't met since midsummer. On Thursday, nearly a dozen officials and civic leaders from the cities of Cape Girardeau and Jackson met at the Osage Community Centre to rekindle the anti-litter effort.

Committee members endorsed plans to join the Keep America Beautiful organization and tap into its wealth of information about successful anti-litter programs.

A beautification subcommittee led by Cape Girardeau County Auditor David Ludwig has raised the $3,500 needed to join Keep America Beautiful.

Local governments, the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce, private individuals, the Southeast Missourian, Old Town Cape and the Craftsman Independent Union donated money to pay the membership fee.

The local governments included the cities of Cape Girardeau and Jackson, said Jon Rust, Southeast Missourian publisher and a member of the beautification subcommittee.

Maintaining the membership will cost about $300 each year. Rust suggested the Scott City government might cover the first two years of the annual membership or $600 as its financial contribution to the anti-litter effort.

Founded in 1953, Keep America Beautiful is the nation's largest not-for-profit community improvement and educational organization. It focuses on litter prevention, beautification and waste reduction.

The local anti-litter committee plans to meet with the Keep America Beautiful staff within the next few months to learn more about the anti-litter organization, its resources and programs.

Cape Girardeau Mayor Jay Knudtson and Jackson Mayor Paul Sander praised the plan to affiliate with Keep America Beautiful.

"We need all the help we can get," Sander said.

Knudtson said affiliating with the well-known national organization will help keep the region focused on combating litter year-round.

"I think this is major news," he said. "Now it starts to take on structure."

A subcommittee led by Cape Girardeau police chief Carl Kinnison had proposed establishing a hot line to enable people to report littering incidents and the license plates of motorists who throw trash out of their cars.

Letters then would be sent to those individuals asking that they refrain from littering. Anti-litter committee members on Thursday decided to put the suggestion on hold until they can meet with Keep America Beautiful officials to determine the feasibility of sending warning letters.

mbliss@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 123

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