Thanks for the cleanup

Published 8:35 pm Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Perhaps you’ve seen the orange bags piled on the side of the road, waiting for pickup by the city’s waste disposal crews. Maybe you’ve even seen some of the volunteers responsible for filling those bags walking along and filling them with trash that has accumulated along the sides of Suffolk’s highways and byways.

Whether you’ve seen them or not, though, you’ve benefitted from the generous donations of time and energy by the more than 1,000 people who volunteer to help clean Suffolk’s streets and parks through the adopt-a-street and adopt-a-spot programs.

During 2015, 1,148 volunteers contributed 4,617 man-hours, collecting 846 bags of litter and truckloads of other debris in the program. It’s safe to say that without their help, Suffolk’s roadsides would look a mess, and the ditches that line many of those roads would be so full of garbage that water would never flow through them. Either that or the city would spend many thousands of dollars more each year to keep those areas clean

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The programs are a big win for the city, which gets the roadsides cleaned and gets that done for only the cost of trash bags, litter grabbers and pickup and disposal of the full bags.

“It creates a better place to live,” Wayne Jones, the city’s litter control coordinator, told the Suffolk News-Herald recently.

A wide variety of people are involved in the program — families, individuals, churches, businesses and service organizations among them. They all participate for different reasons — whether to honor friends of loved ones, to complete service requirements or just to give back to a community they treasure.

Whatever their reasons for participating in the cleanup program though, the people who volunteer to help beautify Suffolk in this way should feel a sense of pride about the visible and tangible difference they make for the city.

It would be wonderful if everyone took such pride in keeping Suffolk clean that there were no need for such programs. Since we don’t live in such a utopia, however, it’s good to know there are people willing to pitch in to make it better.