Last year, faced with an influx of trash, the Town of Pine Bluff challenged local organizations to get involved in keeping our streets clean. Organizations have accepted this challenge by joining the city’s new Adopt-a-Street initiative.

As part of this program, participants adopt streets and remove waste from roadsides according to recurring schedules. Participants choose the length of their routes as well as their schedules.

We appreciate our current participants who have taken on this responsibility. They maintain roadsides throughout town, from Ridgway Road on the south side to West Hepburn on the west side to Poplar and Elm streets in central Pine Bluff. This collective approach is essential to creating and sustaining a cleaner city, as waste spreads over an area too large for a single group to manage.

This means that residents take more ownership of the roads they live on and that businesses take more responsibility for the areas around their stores and facilities. Of course, there are individuals who do this work quietly outside of citywide cleanups and initiatives like adopting a street, often without recognition.

They go out early before the sun is fully up or in their free time on weekends, and they pick up trash in neighborhood ditches or parks. It demonstrates a level of dedication, commitment and kindness that we need for Pine Bluff to achieve a better quality of life.

Today more than ever, we need more of this dedication and goodwill among our fellow citizens. We are asking other businesses, organizations, schools and residents to join these efforts by signing up for our adoption of a street initiative. We are asking more citizens to be kind to their neighbors and people who visit Pine Bluff by operating a clean environment. Participants can register or obtain more information by calling the Town Hall.

The streets of Pine Bluff would benefit massively from community maintenance, including recently renovated areas like Main Street between Barraque Street and Third Avenue, the location of our new streetscape.

Of course, relying on individuals to clean up the waste will never solve the source of the problem itself. It starts with the fact that people are just kind enough not to throw litter in the first place.

And not littering is an expression of kindness. It shows how much a person cares about their neighbors who have to deal with the garbage on their lawns, the kids who have to walk past the garbage on their way to school, and the businesses that lose customers because of properties and dirty parking lots.

Waste is a matter of character. To these people, we challenge them to be better, to be bigger themselves. Be kind and don’t throw trash.

Yet, as long as waste exists, we must all work together to eliminate it. We must show a devoted kindness to Pine Bluff and those in it. For those looking to get involved in cleaning up our city, adopting a street is a good place to start. So show your kindness and join us today. Details: Mayor’s Office, (870) 730-2004.

Shirley Washington is the mayor of Pine Bluff.

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