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Rotary, KADB partner for cigarette butt pickup

Rotary club of Albany President Steve Allen rakes up trash and debris along Jefferson Street under the Liberty Expressway Thursday afternoon. The Rotary club joined Keep Albany Dougherty Beautiful to clean up the Jefferson Street interchange.

Rotary club of Albany President Steve Allen rakes up trash and debris along Jefferson Street under the Liberty Expressway Thursday afternoon. The Rotary club joined Keep Albany Dougherty Beautiful to clean up the Jefferson Street interchange.

ALBANY, Ga. — Thursday, members of the Rotary Club of Albany and Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful raked, cleaned the Jefferson Street interchange with the Liberty Expressway hoping to make a dent in the amount of litter, specifically cigarette butts, that line that portion of roadway.

“It’s just a problem and seemed to be getting worse, so we’re came out to try and help,” Steve Allen, president of the Rotary club of Albany, said. “A lot of people talk about how bad it looks but we’re out here cleaning it up.”

Cigarette butts account for the majority of urban litter, according to a 2010 report in the journal “Tobacco Control.”

It’s a costly problem.

In Georgia, the Department of Transportation spends $14 million annually for litter removal. In California, cigarette butt cleanup proved to be so costly that the city of San Francisco, which was forking over $5.6 million each year to keep the streets clean, adopted a “litter tax” of 20 cents per pack to offset the costs.

“It’s a problem, especially here at this intersection because people sit at the light for a good bit of a time and when they do, many choose to dump their entire ashtrays out on the side of the road,” Keep Albany Dougherty Beautiful Director Judy Bowles said.

Bowles praised the Rotary club for stepping up and making a commitment to do something about the growing litter problem.

“I wish other civic clubs in Albany would follow their example,” Bowles said.

While not linked directly, Thursday’s litter pickup is a prelude of a weekend full of anti-litter campaigns.

Today, government leaders and employees will hit the streets at 9 a.m. for the annual stash-the-trash event to pick up debris and litter throughout the downtown business district.

Saturday, a community-wide anti-litter campaign will begin in neighborhoods throughout the city.

In the East Gate Subdivision in East Albany, Ward 1 Commissioner Jon Howard, along with Bowles, the Albany Public Works Department and the Albany Police Department will conduct a neighborhood litter cleanup Saturday at 9 a.m. on the 100 block of Lexington Drive.

KADB is supplying gloves and trashbags to aid in the trash pickup.

Dougherty County Superior Court Judge Denise Marshall, who is a member of Rotary, said that cleaning up benefits everyone.

“It’s a good thing for the city, it’s a good thing for me as a person, and its a good thing for our Rotary Club,” she said, as she picked up a used diaper that had been tossed into the right-of-way. “It’s good for everyone.”