It is time to quit giving lip service to a major problem in Robeson County. Regardless of the financial cost of hiring personnel and purchasing equipment, this social problem must be eradicated once and for all.
There are two definitions for the word TRASH. One defines the term as garbage, debris, refuse, and waste. The other defines the word as a person being of very low social standing. As proud Robesonians, do we want to be considered “trash” by those beyond our borders? We talk about increasing tourism and attracting new industry and businesses to our county. We encourage our construction firms to build new homes where people can work, play and raise their families in an atmosphere conducive to a high standard of living. All this talk over the years has failed to rid us of a trash problem that projects a county that is unsanitary, unsafe, and unsightly. When are we seriously going to address the issue?
We know that some groups and individuals have tried to erase the problem and bring it under control. The Clean and Green Commission, the Sheriff’s Department Inmate Program, the Robeson County Commissioners, the municipal city councils, various civic groups, churches, schools and key individuals. These efforts are only putting a small temporary bandage on a massive open wound. Individuals guilty of littering who choose to ignore or recognize that they are the problem need to be criminally charged and forced to pay the price for their actions.
There is also another solution to this social problem. We live in the largest county geographically in North Carolina. Our previous efforts simply can’t cover such a massive area and keep it clean. Having tried and failed, it is time to open the public coffers and dig in—-whether we have it or not. If the county and each municipality needs to pass a “trash tax”, then so be it. That tax can be used to hire personnel to clean up our mess. It can also be used to purchase trucks and tools. I don’t mean waste trucks that ride around with automatic lifts. Buy sensible box bed trucks with personnel to get into the ditches and remove the trash. You may think that we can’t afford such a tax. Well, we caused this problem so we can’t afford not to have such a tax. Do you really want to be defined by the second definition of the term trash? If not, then let’s do what needs to be done to rid ourselves of this terrible social problem that shines such a negative light on our community.
Richard H. Monroe, Chamber of Commerce Image Committee Chair
P.S. More information on how to assist the Image Committee will follow in a few days.