Litter hurts economy, health

Published 1:52 pm Wednesday, April 11, 2007

By Staff
A physician's role in his/her community extends beyond the diagnosis and treatment of individual patients. It is this conviction that caused me to accept the position of County Medical Examiner. A community, the state and the national government need to know how and why its citizens are dying if they are to allocate resources for the prevention of unnecessary deaths and disability. Therefore, a community's health is dependent upon careful death investigations.
Good public health is also influenced by the economic health of the community. Good jobs, which fully utilize the skills of the people, are vital. Those jobs provide quality health care coverage, good nutrition, healthy recreation, etc. This is why I have become so concerned with the littering problem that is gradually worsening on the roads and streets of our greater community.
Whether we like it or not, people judge us by the way we look. A clean, neatly dressed, well-groomed individual makes a statement to the people he meets - without even opening his mouth. The same is true of a community.
When potential employers look for a place to establish a business, the first thing they see when entering Brewton (from any direction) is garbage piled along our roadways. The right-of-ways are usually well mowed, but the garbage is ground up into &#8220confetti” - often making the problem worse. The situation not only tells the business prospect that we as individuals do not take pride in our hometown. It also reflects on the attitude of our government.
With the &#8220Clean-up for Cancer” campaign becoming a part of the already highly respected Relay for Life program, I would like us to declare a &#8220War on Litter.” And just as a military campaign requires education, negotiation and dependable agreements so will the war on litter. As long as people either don't &#8220see” the litter or understand its negative economic impact, nothing is going to change. No one - businesses, public employees, or concerned private citizens - will be able to keep up with the current level of littering.
The goals of &#8220Clean-up for Cancer” are for concerned citizens to make a statement by their participation and raise money for a worthy cause. Many of my colleagues, patients, and friends have expressed their concern about this situation. I am now asking them to step up and initiate the War on Litter. Please: put your money, your presence, and your time where your mouth is.
I can be reached for further details at 867-3606 or my co-chairman, Scott Hillman at 809-8396.

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