Save the planet and start with the City of Darlington
By Macie-Lynn Shafer
City of Darlington Planning Department
The City of Darlington is a beautiful place to live and work, but it needs the help of all its citizens to stay that way. There are sadly so many locations cluttered with empty bottles, cardboard, plastic, and many other forms of debris littered on streets, sidewalks, yards, and basically anywhere people go. This major issue takes away from the cleanliness of our city, the beauty of our neighborhoods, harms our environment, and creates an unsightly vision of what Darlington is and can be. Though you personally might not be at fault, we all have walked past trash and other miscellaneous things that are on the ground because it has nothing to do with us. But it actually does. Litter endangers the health, safety and welfare of yourself and other citizens every day. Litter has the potential to attract rats and other pests that can carry disease, which can impact our health, especially the many people who have compromised immune systems. Litter can trap or poison wildlife and pets, kill aquatic life and harm the quality of the water that we drink and use on a daily basis. Drivers swerving to avoid trash in the road can cause vehicle crashes. Children and others can trip of fall on the litter at playgrounds, on sidewalks, and in other general pedestrian areas. The most common litter items include cigarette butts (which can also be a fire hazard if they are not put out correctly or fully), food wrappers, plastic bottles, beverage cans, disposable cups, grocery bags, straws, and tire and vehicle debris. These items can easily be disposed of properly at gas stations or other public trash receptacles when out and about town. We can solve this problem if everyone does their part. Do not throw your trash on the streets, parks or other places where trash does not belong. If you see trash on your way into a building or on a walk, pick it up and dispose of it in a proper manner. Other easy solutions include keeping a bag in your vehicle to dispose of trash, securely covering trash containers to prevent wind or animals from spreading litter, and, when visiting parks and recreation areas, make sure to leave the area clean for the next person to enjoy. No matter who disposed of it first, litter is still harming the environment and our city, which becomes the entire community’s problem when it starts deterring new business, or residents, from coming to settle down in our beloved city. There are organizations, like Palmetto Pride, whose purpose is to make the environment and state litter-free. The website, www.palmettopride.org, has information on how to help, the dangers of pollution and litter on the environment, wildlife, and the threat it poses to the health of citizens. You do not have to join or volunteer with these services, but it will help you educate those who do not understand the harm that litter can cause Darlington. You can do your part by helping out with clean-up days and weeks that the city holds to beautify and de-trash the downtown area and other districts to help the environment and its overall appearance. The Darlington Garden Club and Darlington Memorial Cemetery Association both hold a number of clean-up events, and your church or neighborhood can start one, too. Join Palmetto Pride and the City of Darlington by fighting against litter in your area and within South Carolina. People can make a difference. You can make a difference just by being aware of how you dispose of your trash and by helping keep the city and environment trash-free.