Albany - A cigarette butt, candy wrapper, even a soda can. On their own, each piece of trash is just that, but when hundreds, even thousands are strewn throughout a city, it makes for a stinky, unsightly community. Now, city and county leaders want to clean up.
Commissioners Jon Howard and John Hayes started their weeks off in a nasty way. They walked around downtown Albany counting cigarette butts. The amount they found was shocking, more than 3,000 in one city block. Ugly, even unhealthy. "It gets into our water streams. We have to remember cigarettes contain nicotine so there are truly health concerns there," says Hayes.
There are plans to give away cigarette disposal containers, so folks don't throw butts on the ground. But there are also concerns about how to attract new businesses and foot traffic if the city we live in is unsightly. Martie Jones says, "When you see something that's beautiful, you enjoy it more, and that's what we're trying to do down here. We're just trying to have this beautification program put in place so that everybody, when they do come down, they'll take pride in it and they'll see what we have to offer in Albany."
And that's why they've formed Partnerships in Pride. A community involvement group that includes merchants, leaders and citizens. Cleaning up together, and keeping things clean. "When they walk out their front door," says Howard, "if they see trash or some cigarette paper, pick it up and they certainly have made a difference for that day."
Hayes says, "Everybody wants a clean environment, or should. So it's up to us to be advocates for a clean Albany, Dougherty."
So that when people visit the county, they'll want to come back. Business owners are actually obligated by law to keep the area adjacent to their building clean by sweeping, and removing trash every day.