Waste working group to organize “community pickup day” on October 16
Columbia, like most communities with a growing population, continues to struggle with waste issues and, more importantly, finding solutions to create a cleaner city.
In February last year, Columbia founded its own Waste Task Force to tackle the problem head-on and to decipher exactly what a local government can and cannot implement in the process. The group is made up of local law enforcement officials, public works officials and members of the public.
Earlier this month, task force representatives presented their first-year findings to Columbia City Council and called for a “community garbage collection day” on October 16. The event will take place in the Westover Subdivision and will be organized in partnership with Columbia Public Works, Columbia Police Department and other local organizations.
“We hope that if people see other people picking up trash at some point during the day, it will at least make some people think a little more about throwing their mugs out of the car, or whatever. else., and they’ll choose not to do it and dispose of it properly, “said task force chair Greg Hardin.” We think with these organized community drives, people will show up. “
Students can earn hours of service
The October 16 event will also be an opportunity for students, who qualify for the TN Promise scholarship, to earn some of their required community service hours.
“These people can save hours for their scholarship by helping us with these garbage pickups. And then they can go back and tell the other students that, ‘You know what, we did a good thing by helping clean up the city. , and we also had a great time doing it, ”Hardin said.
The city has also earmarked $ 10,000 in funds, which Hardin says will be used to purchase trash bags, signs and other advertisements to promote the pickup. He also does not expect the full $ 10,000 to be spent.
“You all have a lot of other things that may be a lot more important than trash, but we appreciate the opportunity to address this issue,” Hardin said.
A mounting problem
Mayor Chaz Molder commented on the city’s general waste problem and that “it’s actually a problem”.
“Unfortunately, if I remember correctly, this task force was formed around a time when things were a bit of a standstill in 2020,” Molder said. “I know some of the momentum was slowed down due to complications resulting from a face-to-face meeting, but I’m happy to see [the task force] picked up where it left off. “
Molder added that the working group also benefited from a partnership with Melissa LaForest of the nonprofit Keep Maury Beautiful, who advocated for better community involvement in solving waste issues. from the city.
The organization regularly hosts and / or sponsors community cleanup events, including the annual Duck River Cleanup, with volunteers handing out bags, safety vests, signs and gloves to use in cleaning roads and roads. local highways.
Keep Maury Beautiful also locally sponsors the Great American Cleanup, a national waste pickup and beautification event that typically attracts between 300 and 400 citizens each year.
“I’m excited about the pickup and I’m also delighted that Keep Maury Beautiful’s Melissa LaForest was involved as she’s done a lot of the work for the county as a whole,” said Molder.
“One thing I remember when she told me that she might need more support from the city. I hope that seeing that we now have a task force that will actually carry out some actions, she’ll know she has that support. It’s a problem, but the problems are only resolved if people are willing to jump into the trenches and tackle them. “