Monday, January 24, 2011

Little Sweep

From Tom Glasgow, County Extension Director, Craven County

Little Sweep, a community clean up event which takes place each year on the first Saturday in February.

If you or a group you belong to have a couple of hours to spare on February 5, or would like additional information, please give our office a call at 633-1477 or e-mail  We can provide suggestions for sites in need if you don't already have a place in mind.  We can also supply trash bags. 

Litter is a serious problem in North Carolina, and spending a few hours a year in litter clean up efforts is certainly a valuable use of your volunteer time.  A reference sheet I obtained from North Carolina Big Sweep provides three main reasons why litter is harmful.  First, litter hurts our economy.  Businesses don't want to locate in trashy areas, and tourists don't want to linger in trashy areas.  Second, litter is a human health hazard.  Litter attracts disease-carrying mosquitoes and rodents, and as litter decomposes, it leaches chemicals into our groundwater.  There is also the possibility of injury from slipping on litter or cutting yourself on broken glass.  A third major consideration is that litter harms wildlife.  When wildlife mistake litter for food, they can suffocate or clog their digestive tracts with the inedible material.  Animals may also starve when litter blocks food from making its way into their digestive system.  In fact, whale and other animal beachings are often associated with ingested litter.  Wildlife may also become entangled in litter, slowly dying and possibly attracting other animals to the same hazard. 

There are many good reasons for helping to reduce the presence of litter in our environment.  We hope you'll take some time to participate in Little Sweep 2011 and in future events as well.  

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