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Volunteers contribute to cleaner waterways, roadways

A morning of cleaning county roadways and the Laurens County side of Lake Greenwood on Saturday paid off big with well over 4,000 pounds of trash collected, and that’s only from a segment of the lake area, said Courtney Stonell, executive director of Keep Laurens County Beautiful.
With several cleanup campaigns scattered throughout the county, however, the day served to launch a full spring of events, including The Great American Cleanup and Earth Day.
“I haven’t gotten the data from the other Laurens County lake sites, but trash collected from the Riverfork Boat Road area and Crystal Bay totaled 4,040 pounds, and there were also volunteers picking up trash at Camp Fellowship and Moon Landing.”

Stonell was working at Riverfork Road area with volunteer officers from the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office and other volunteers.
Keep Greenwood County Beautiful has reported a total of 8,840 pounds of trash from the Saturday morning event, and that includes the collection from Moon Landing and Camp Fellowship, Stonell said, “so we really feel like volunteers in Laurens County really showed up well.”
And while those dozens of volunteers were clearing litter from roadways and lakefront property, other groups in the City of Laurens were taking part as well.
Johnnie Bolt, a Laurens city council member and a member of Palmetto Lodge 19, coordinated a cleanup along Anderson Drive. Lodge Master George Latta encouraged members to participate and several came with their family members, Bolt said.

We only had about nine volunteers but we collected 24 bags of trash,” Bolt said. “It had been a little while since we’d done it so it was in pretty bad shape, but we’re hoping to stay on top of it again.”
Meanwhile, about 25 to 30 volunteers from the Laurens Police Department and residents of  Pinehaven Point tackled an increased litter problem there by clearing Pinehaven Road and the streets entering Pinehaven Point on Saturday morning as well.
“We got 26 bags of trash totaling more than 400 pounds, plus 10 tires,” said LPD Captain Heath Copeland. “We are planning another cleanup this Saturday morning starting about 8 a.m. in the area near the Laurens Amphitheater and up and down Gordon Street.”
“Every person picking up trash makes a difference,” Stonell said. “Laurens County is blessed with volunteers, some of them walk and pick up trash every day for exercise, and we are hoping that each of them will go to our Keep Laurens County Beautiful Facebook page and tell us how many bags of trash they are collecting.”

While the cleanups are not referred to as Quarterly Cleanup Days as in the past, Keep Laurens County Beautiful is partnering with other affiliates to hold work events during the year.
“We really are doing something basically every quarter,” Stonell said. “In March we are always joining with the Lake Greenwood Cleanup, then we hold big cleanup events for Earth Day in late April and World Cleanup Day in September, and we’re still doing something during the winter.”

Competitive Anti-Litter Campaign

Earth Day, on April 22, will serve as the completion of a multi-county competition as to which Upstate county can record the most bags of trash picked up between April 1 and April 23, Stonell said.

Dubbed The Palmetto Pride Upstate Team-up to Clean-up, The idea came about after a Ten at the Top meeting at which all the county affiliates came together for a litter control roundtable, and Stonell suggested a friendly competition.

“I am often hearing about people who pick up trash every time they go for walks, and we really need them to give us a call or send a message so we can keep up with how much trash is collected, because it really does matter,” Stonell said.
It’s not just for this competition, she said, but for ongoing assistance through Palmetto Pride and the Keep America Beautiful organization.
Call and report totals to the Laurens County Chamber of Commerce at 864-833-2716, or send a message through the Keep Laurens County Beautiful Facebook or Instagram page.

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