Tacky and ugly?

Published 9:37 pm Thursday, April 22, 2021

Letter to the editor

I read with disgust the article in the April 11 edition of the Tryon Daily Bulletin: “Rethink Display Removed”.  

Why would a Columbus Town Council member vote for a proclamation supporting litter cleanups and then complain that a sign promoting litter awareness was tacky and ugly? Mr. Phillips obviously doesn’t understand the issues surrounding litter. The sign was meant to make people aware of the issue of litter and the single use items that are causing most of the litter in our county. The plastic bottles and take out container waste that litter our beautiful landscape is a very real issue in our county and only becoming worse.

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The action to remove a sign that was approved by the Columbus Town Council makes no sense, and as a person who has volunteered for over 10 years organizing, promoting and participating in litter cleanups, I see this as a slap in the face to dedicated volunteers. Mr. Phillips should realize the value that volunteers bring to the town and county and the service they provide to support government services and fill in the gaps left when government falls short. 

According to the website Independentsector.org, the estimated national value of each volunteer hour is $27.20. In the last three years volunteers have contributed over $16,538 in savings while volunteering with NC DOT programs such as Adopt A Highway and NC DOT Litter Sweep. In addition, the value of volunteer hours (1672 hours) doing cleanup in our waterways between 2007 and 2019 is estimated to be $45,478.40

I have written several articles on litter and given several presentations on Polk County litter to the Polk County Board of Commissioners.  The facts are telling: Litter has increased in the county and with cuts in the NC DOT budgets, volunteers like those that participate in the Adopt A Highway programs, NC DOT’s Litter Sweep, Conserving Carolina and Mountain True cleanups and other community organizations such as the Houston Road Community Committee are valuable and should be recognized, not suppressed, by government officials.  

In a quote on the Discover Columbus website regarding the Columbus Proud, litter awareness month:  www.discovercolumbusnc.com/events/columbus-proud-litter-awareness-month/ the Town Manager is quoted as saying: “Litter looks bad…..If you’re jogging, riding a bike or walking, and you see litter, it just gives you a bad feeling. It’s just bad, not only for our community, but for our environment, as well.”

In addition, there is a quote on the same website from Councilman Robert Williamson: “We want to take pride in our Town. We want residents to be aware, as well as involved,”. Where is the awareness in taking down a sign meant to promote that awareness?

It seems that the Town of Columbus Town Council members are not all on the same page. Please educate yourselves regarding litter and the damage it does for to our economy and our environment.  

Submitted by Jamie Davidson