County litter piles up

Published 11:16 pm Monday, March 13, 2006

By By Mary-Allison Lancaster
A study conducted by the Coastal Gateway Economic Development Authority revealed that one of the biggest drawbacks in promoting industry to Escambia County was its litter problem.
In response to the negative statistics, members of the Greater Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with Quality of Life members, a committee under the Alabama Communities of Excellence corporation, are coordinating efforts to help clean up the county.
"We found out the Chamber and other organizations were all trying to tackle this situation," said Molly Ruzic, a Quality of Life committee member. "Our goal is to get everyone under one roof."
Working with People Against Littering (PALS), an organization from Montgomery, a county-wide planning meeting to kick off a litter free county will be held at the Brewton Community Center on March 14 from 10 to 11 a.m.
Two people from the PALS organization, and Janice Castleberry, who has worked closely with Covington County's clean up efforts, will combine their resources to help promote economic development in Escambia County.
According to Kathy McMillan, a Chamber officer, Covington County has really seen growth and progress as a result of its clean up efforts.
There are currently seven counties not participating with PALS and up until now, Escambia County was one of them.
"I think that says a lot for why industry isn't coming here," McMillan said.
At the meeting, the speakers will focus on planning and organization, lead the county in the right direction and provide information on how to go about doing it, whether it be adopt a mile, adopt a stream or even reporting those who litter.
McMillan said the PALS speakers will specifically address what the county can do as a whole. Representatives from the cities of East Brewton, Atmore and Flomaton will be attending the Tuesday meeting, and McMillan and Ruzic are encouraging everyone in the communities to attend and provide suggestions.
Information and suggestions provided at the meeting will result in an all-age county wide clean up effort slated for April 22, which is Earth Day. Those participating will start at specific areas in the county and "work their way in." Following the clean up, which begins at 8 a.m. until 12 p.m., a sponsored picnic will be held.
"We want this to be for all ages," McMillan said. "We want this to be a fun thing instead of a 'have to do' thing."
McMillan said that several organizations and companies have already expressed interested in participating in the clean up efforts. Philip Jennings with BankTrust said Thursday that the employees will be participating.
"People really care about this issue," Ruzic said. "Now we're trying to get everyone to work together and make it easier on everyone."
For more information on how to get involved or to sign up your organization or company, contact the Chamber at 867-3224.

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