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OPINION | SHIRLEY WASHINGTON: Be kind by fighting litter

by Shirley Washington Special to The Commercial | June 30, 2021 at 2:54 a.m.

Last year, faced with an influx of litter, the city of Pine Bluff challenged local organizations to get involved with keeping our streets clean. Organizations accepted this challenge by joining the city's new Adopt-a-Street initiative.

As part of this program, participants are adopting streets and removing litter from roadsides on recurring schedules. Participants choose the length of their routes as well as their schedules.

We appreciate our current participants who have assumed this responsibility. They are maintaining roadsides throughout the city, from Ridgway Road on the southside to West Hepburn on the west side to Poplar and Elm streets in central Pine Bluff. This collective approach is critical to creating and sustaining a cleaner city, as litter sprawls too large an area for any single group to manage.

It involves residents taking greater ownership of the roads on which they live, and businesses assuming more responsibility over the areas around their stores and facilities. Of course, there are individuals who quietly carry out this work outside of city-wide cleanups and initiatives like adopt-a-street, often without recognition.

They step out at early hours before the sun has completely risen or during their free time on weekends, and they pick-up trash from ditches or neighborhood parks. This demonstrates a level of dedication, commitment, and kindness that we need in order for Pine Bluff to achieve a higher quality of life.

Now, as much as ever, we need more of this dedication and kindness among our fellow citizens. We're calling for additional businesses, organizations, schools, and residents to join these efforts by signing up for our adopt-a-street initiative. We're calling for more citizens to show kindness to their neighbors and the people that visit Pine Bluff by harnessing a clean environment. Participants may join or acquire more information by calling the Mayor's Office.

Streets throughout Pine Bluff would benefit massively from collective maintenance, including newly upgraded areas like Main Street between Barraque Street and Third Avenue, the location of our new streetscape.

Of course, relying on individuals to clean up litter will never address the source of the problem itself. That begins with people simply being kind enough to not litter in the first place.

And not littering is an expression of kindness. It shows how much a person cares about their neighbors who must deal with trash on their lawns, and kids who must walk past garbage on the way to school, and businesses that lose customers because of trashy properties and parking lots.

Littering is about one's character. To those individuals, we challenge them to be better, be their greater selves. Be kind and don't litter.

Yet as long as litter exists, we must all work together to remove it. We must show a dedicated kindness for Pine Bluff and those within. For those looking to get involved in cleaning up our city, adopt-a-street is a good place to start. So show your kindness, and join today. Details: Mayor's Office, (870) 730-2004.

Shirley Washington is mayor of Pine Bluff.

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