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Editorial:What We Say

L’Observateur / June 10, 1998

Cleaning Up Easy, Keeping Clean Hard

Summer cleaning has replaced spring cleaning in the River Parishes.

Leading the way in this effort is St. John Parish Sheriff Wayne L. Jones,who escorted a group of inmates from the parish jail to picking up trash along the West Bank River Road this week.

It’s a laudable effort, but one which will only be effective with citizen interest and participation.

While more cynical people may call Jones’s clean-up campaign across the parish at the most visible spots a political ploy to enhance his chances for re-election, it’s unquestioned that the public benefits from the effort. Therewards are many: inmates have something to do and keep out of trouble in jail, a new sense of self-esteem is generated among the inmates, the public sees inmates paying their debt to society by the sweat of their brows, the parish is cleaned up of roadside trash.

However, we all should be mindful of what each of us can do to make the River Parishes a better place in which to live and work.

The next time you hear a teen-ager complain, “There’s nothing to do!” remind him or her they can organize or participate in a neighborhood clean-up campaign. They can pass out small trash bags to motorists andclean out ditches. They can make their neighborhood a little nicer to livein. They can not throw trash out of vehicle windows, nor dump vehicleashtrays at intersections and in parking lots.

They can help senior citizens with painting their houses and mowing their yards. It’s good, clean work and burns up a lot of that teen-age energy byputting it to work to improve the neighborhood. It doesn’t take a lot ofbrains, but it does show good sense.

Let’s not stop there, though. Businesses can keep clean their parking lots,the areas around their dumpsters and clean, paint or fix up their buildings.

Neighborhood watch groups and civic associations can also take a pro- active approach and watch out for littering as well as suspicious vehicles.

People can report license plate numbers of people who toss trash onto the roadside. Everyone can do something to clean up the River Parishes.A group of employees at the Port of South Louisiana’s harbor services has organized into a clean-up effort, targeting the homes of needy senior citizens, helping them with plumbing, electricity, yard work, painting and air conditioning. This is called contributing to the betterment of acommunity.

There are communities in this nation where littering is almost unknown.

The difference is community attitude. To these people, littering isunthinkable. They don’t do it. They don’t allow their children to do it. Theydon’t tolerate visitors who do it.

This is a viewpoint which should be encouraged in the River Parishes.

Tourism is a non-polluting growth industry, one of the fastest-growing in Louisiana. The River Parishes have much to offer the tourism industry. Oneof those things we can offer is a clean community. This encourages first-time visitors and returning visitors.

The difference is attitude. If we want this to happen and pledge to work tomake it happen, it will happen.

Let’s not sit back and watch others do it. Let’s all do it. Let’s all getinvolved.

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