Three separate events will contribute to Bartow's portion of The Great American Cleanup, an annual celebration of Earth Day observed across the country by picking up litter and debris.
Locally, Bartow County, the city of Cartersville and the city of Emerson will use their involvement to raise awareness and educate others about the impacts of littering. Missy Phillips, acting director of the Bartow County Office of Environmental Programs, coordinates the Keep Bartow Beautiful program, an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful.
"All the Keep America Beautiful affiliates are having Great American Cleanups in the months of March, April and May. So, we like to use that as our Earth Day activity as it is our biggest activity of the year," Phillips said. "Last year we removed 34,000 pounds of litter during the months of March, April and May, and we recycled 255,000 pounds of plastic, paper and metal at 40 events with 1,600 volunteers.
"While we do pick up a lot of litter and help the community look a little better and feel a little better ... it's more important to get the message out that littering is ugly, littering is irresponsible, littering is selfish and it's sloppy."
Events will begin Saturday at 8 a.m. with the Emerson cleanup meeting at Emerson City Hall. McDonald's and Love's Truck Stop will provide biscuits and orange juice with LakePoint Sporting Community & Town Center providing reflective vests.
Volunteers, including Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and local churches, will clean much of the downtown area and Ga. Highway 293 through town as other groups outside city limits will clean along Puckett Road and Cumberland Road.
"We have a lot of participation this year," said Emerson Deputy City Clerk Cindy Smith. "Besides from everyone just being able to get together for a good, common cause, it just beautifies the city, and with LakePoint coming in, we're just really feeling proud of our city and I think this just helps with that pride for Emerson."
Like other sites, Saturday will be about more than just cleaning up the roads in Emerson. Organizers hope to make an impact on those passing through during the cleanup by showing others how they feel about litter and the resources it can affect.
"We'll be giving out educational materials that have to do with stormwater and things that are getting into our rivers and streams that were thrown out of windows or left on the side of the road," Smith said. "We really want to try to protect Allatoona Lake and Pumpkinvine Creek. We want to make sure this stuff doesn't wind up in our drinking water."
For more information on the Emerson Cleanup, call 770-382-9819.
The Bartow County Gene Thacker Memorial Cleanup will meet at Georgia Highlands College with registration beginning at 9 a.m. Efforts at the county cleanup will focus on Cline Smith Road, Spur 20 and Oakland Heights. For more information, call 770-383-7399.
The city of Cartersville will concentrate efforts on Atco Village, meeting at Atco Baptist Church at 10 a.m. For more information, call 770-387-5614.