07/29/05 — Fight the blight: Community can do more to protect environment

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Fight the blight: Community can do more to protect environment

It really isn’t hard to tell that Goldsboro and Wayne County need to look a little more closely at ordinances that could force some local — and not so local — property owners to clean up their environments.

There are some places where cleaning up is not the top priority. There are also the areas where some people seem to think they can dump anything they don’t want anymore with impunity.

And those are just a few of the problems. Add in some dilapidated and unkempt yards and a few places where litter decorates the highway, and you have an annoyance that could become a serious blight on the community.

The problem is, there is no really effective way to police littering and dumping.

No litter control officer has a magic ball that can tell him exactly where to be to witness someone discarding an old computer or other junk by the side of the road.

So, to combat this sort of activity, you almost have to have someone watching the out-of-the-way places and the highways on their own.

And we should be those watchers.

Keeping an eye out for those who dump illegally is a smart way to protect yourself and your property value. Junk doesn’t make any area look good, and sometimes, what is dumped is not particularly “healthy.” Reporting the license plate of a dumper or calling in a particular area that is a potential hazard is the first step to stopping this sort of blight.

Paying for the cleanup is a little more problematic, but who knows, maybe this could be another use for the county’s jail population.

But no matter how it gets cleaned up, there need to be serious penalties for those who choose to ignore the rules. Limited warnings and then stiff fines should be in order for anyone who is not a victim of dumping, but who merely refuses to clean up. A few examples and officials who mean business when they say “clean up” will send a message that this town is not going to tolerate this sort of behavior from residents or anyone else.

That is how you clean up a community — and keep it clean.

Published in Editorials on July 29, 2005 11:28 AM