The topic of litter in our communities never seems to subside. Litter is a common sight along our roadways and continuously washes up on our beaches and yet we just seem to learn to live with it. Yes, we hold annual beach cleanups, periodic community litter campaigns, and send crews out to pick up litter ahead of the mowers, but those efforts are not solutions.
For Mayor Billy Knight of Moss Point, it is time to stop talking and start doing something about it. Moss Point’s Clean and Green Initiative is the city’s multiyear plan to go beyond talking and finally do something to change the way the community views itself. The goal is to stop the practice of generating litter in the first place and, in doing so, build a bit of community pride. “In my campaign I spoke about my concern about the city’s image and the need to clean up our city. This plan is the path forward.” – Mayor Billy Knight.
Over the course of several weeks of meetings with community leaders and citizens, a five part plan of action has emerged that, by 2026, will hopefully change the way residents view their city and how it looks, not only for themselves, but for visitors to the River City. Elements of the plan include education, marketing, enforcement, funding and administration. For each element, details about the who, what, and how were defined, with specific actions to achieve the stated “end in mind” goal for each.
For the citizens of Moss Point, key messages and goals for the plan include:
- What are the costs of dealing with litter, as a taxpayer and for local businesses?
- Build a message that being “clean and green” has value and is sustainable.
- Encourage offenders, including habitual litters, derelict property owners, and businesses to change their ways, with consequences, if necessary.
- Engage partner organizations and secure sources of funding to support education, marketing and enforcement.
- Most importantly, make the topic of litter and public image a priority of elected officials and city employees that supports sustainability.
For each of these elements of the plan, activities and actions are unfolding and will work together to achieve the overall goal of improving the image of Moss Point as a beautiful and clean community. Seeing a clean river front and the beautiful heritage Live Oaks, rather than derelict properties and litter along the roadways is the dream, that with hard work, can become reality.
For Mayor Knight and the city’s Board of Aldermen, this is one priority that directly engages citizens. Recent recognition of citizens picking up trash along the roadways and cleaning up property is just the start. Ward by ward cleanup efforts are underway and community groups are stepping up to spruce up public spaces, like the library. Building momentum and making the sustainability of a good image is the prize.
Photos courtesy of Tom Hewlett.