Last updated 4/28/2021 at 5:13pm
Last Saturday, we were supposed to have a county-wide clean-up day from 10 a.m. to noon, sponsored by Mountain Sun Community School. In our neck of the woods, the clean-up area targeted Tannery Skate Park and the Silversteen playground.
We had to come up with a team name. “Beautifying Spaces & Places With All Races” was our group’s selection. We had 22 people in all – 15 adults (the oldest in their 70s) and seven children (age 4 being the youngest.)
As it got closer to the weekend, the weather was projected to be 100 percent rain. I have no doubt that we would have done it if we had to. Picking up trash in the rain didn’t exactly feel like what I wanted to do, so our group rallied around to see if we could switch to Friday evening with a better weather prediction. Twelve wonderful souls were willing and able to make a spontaneous switch and so we did. Together we got the job done!
We started at Tannery Park. We took our group photo with our volunteer t-shirts and dark glasses and then got to work. We eventually made our way over to the Silversteen playground. About four of our team members walked, picking up trash along Silversteen Drive, Carolina Avenue and Cashiers Valley Road. I believe we collected two humongous, industrial-sized trash bags, plus an assortment of recyclables and funky things, like a laundry basket and a bent screen for a window.
Just for an added bonus, some of the little kids and grown-up kids tried out the newly installed playground equipment. It all worked beautifully. The event was a nice opportunity overall to get outside, do something helpful for our environment, fellow neighbors and the community-at-large, all while meeting new and “old” friends and having a good time. A big “thank you” to Mountain Sun for the t-shirts, supplies and the opportunity to do good. A special thank you to super organizer, Sara Schmidt, who was simply amazing with communication and modeling a positive “can do” attitude.
A last thought that I also shared with our team. At the playground, I noticed a lot of cigarette butts. If memory serves me correctly, they are really harmful for the environment in so many ways because, among other things, they don’t break down. If not disposed of properly, cigarette and e-cigarette waste will eventually wind up, as our team observed, in the environment, subsequently polluting water, air and land with toxic chemicals, residual nicotine and heavy metals. I would hate a little kid or someone’s pet to accidentally ingest that.
I wonder if other playgrounds have the same problem and maybe what solutions they have found? Is there such a thing as a covered “ashtray” for outdoors? One of our team members, Sara, said, “Cigarettes at playgrounds drive me nuts. I just don’t understand it. Hopefully, if you do figure out an ashtray, people will use it.”
Wondering sometimes leads to research. In a quick, exploratory search online, I found quite an assortment ranging from $30 to over $400 for outdoor ashtrays. Right now, I am imagining a kid-driven project to get the adults in their lives to make better choices for where those cigarette butts end up. Enjoy the rest of your week!
(Newsworthy items for submission for Rosenwald Community News are welcomed from community members, churches, clubs and groups. If you have an idea for a story or interview for me to capture, let me know. Enjoy your week! For submissions or information, contact Nicola Karesh at [email protected] or call (828) 421-8615.)