Across the globe millions of people are observing Earth Day with thousands of events and actions. While it is impressive to see or read about these, it is also fitting to turn our attention locally to learn what is being done and/or how we can become involved – right here in Aiken County.
The Aiken Standard has done a great deal by publishing articles, letters, photos, websites or other contact information to educate the public and showcase the events, efforts and results of hundreds of groups and individuals. Since circulation of the newspaper reaches hundreds of readers, this has a significant impact.
The board members of Keep Aiken County Beautiful have continued to be active the first quarter of 2021 by hosting several community cleanup events, conducting training for Adopt-A-Highway groups and the Adopt-A-Stream program, writing grants and planning for future events. The board of directors, welcoming several new members this month, is drafting a list of recommendations to County Council which will continue to maintain, reinforce and strengthen efforts to reduce litter and beautify the county. KACB is now conducting its annual Litter Index Survey of randomly selected roads in the county. Data received from this survey helps with future planning and needs. In addition, as the Great American Cleanup Campaign continues, KACB has scheduled its next community clean up for May 29 on Highway 78.
Also watch for the significant Secure your Load Day on June 6 which will coordinate with a tarp giveaway. Reports and records from AAA reflect that thousands of accidents and injuries and hundreds of deaths have occurred in recent years due to trash flying off uncovered loads. It is so dangerous and unnecessary to transport open trash in trailers or vehicles. And it is against the law.
A first step for each of us to become more involved is to become better informed and aware of environmental programs, organizations, laws and events by reviewing any number of websites. Especially for this week I encourage readers to focus on these few: earthday.org which gives a global overview. More specific to littering, visit Keep America Beautiful and click on "end littering" button; or palmettopride.org, or bigrentz.com. Then check out the KACB website and Facebook page for information on how to volunteer or get involved here at home.
A few weeks ago, local author Marti Healy, wrote a thoughtful, touching article in the newspaper called “What if Earth loves you back?” She contends that the Earth does love us unconditionally in spite of ourselves, our actions. She listed ways we might experience this love through all our senses: songs of birds, fragrances of flowers, beauty of clouds in the sky, caress of gentle breezes. She suggests that Earth restores and even heals our bodies and souls. (Medical and health circles have long promoted getting outside for fresh air, sunshine, and exercise). How timely her words are this month as we celebrate Earth Day and this year’s theme “Restore Our Earth” noting an old, old truth which should be continuously remembered that “we and the Earth are in a pretty amazing relationship.”
Each of us can make a difference in restoring our Earth by continuing to report litter or littering. To report litter in Aiken County, call the county dispatch at 803-502-9000 x 3704. In the city of Aiken, call 803-642-7620 to report littering in process. After the fact, call 803-502-4999. Palmetto Pride’s Litter Hotline is 877-754-8837. Please remember to report only when safe to do so.