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Keep it in the car
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On a gorgeous weekend morning, I should be pruning my hedges and attending to my rose bushes - but instead I have to clean up the many items people throw into my yard as they speed past my home.

Yes, I did choose to move into a home situated directly on a major Newton County thoroughfare, but I don't think I should have to spend every sunny Saturday picking up beer boxes, fast food wrappers and even dirty diapers.

When you chunk something out of your window it becomes someone else's problem, right?

Well, it comes to down to a simple adage - the golden rule. Do onto others as you would have done onto you.

Would you enjoy picking up countless cigarette butts and muddy diapers every week? If your answer was no, then you should keep it in your car.

Not only does it make my yard look horrible, it is a danger to my pets. Something my sweet puppies could choke on could blow into my back yard. Or, something could attract a vicious dog or diseased raccoon onto the property that could attack or infect my animals.

Also, it is not only my yard in which irresponsible people dump their vehicular waste. During my entire drive to work, litter is visible on all the lawns lining the corridor.

Businesses looking to potentially open a location in Newton County see the litter too. Trash covering county roads says to business owners Newton residents don't care about their community.

When the county does not have sufficient employment for its residents and cannot generate enough tax revenue through commerce to support local government operations, then what you thought was somebody else's problem becomes everyone's problem.

I know litter seems fairly benign compared to other problems facing our community, but the county is growing and problems left unattended will only become worse.

All drivers, I encourage you to reuse those grocery bags we all keep in our kitchen pantries (they can be reused dozens of different ways) as car trash bags.

It takes the same amount of time to place your garbage in a grocery bag as it does to throw it out the window.

Keep Georgia Beautiful statistics show the worst litterers are men between 18 and 24 years old. Moms and dads and adults of all ages should model positive behavior before they become empty-nesters.

Some of you may be asking, "don't we have convicts in orange jumpsuits who clean up our roads?" Instead of picking up trash along our highways, maybe inmates could participate in more constructive activities, such as earning a degree or technical certificate that would prevent them from engaging in criminal activity once they are released.

I hate to threaten people who litter, but Keep Covington/Newton Beautiful has made it possible to prosecute them.

Contact with the litterbug's make, model and color of car, tag number, and location date and time. The perpetrator will receive notice of a monetary fine by mail.

Drivers, I implore you - the next time you finish a Whopper, take the last puff of a cigarette or change little Timmy while driving anywhere - please, keep it in your car.

Jenny Thompson is the news editor of The Covington News. She can be e-mailed at