December 22, 2010

Town takes aim at litter bugs with new program

Union Leader Correspondent
LONDONDERRY -- A new subcommittee aimed toward tackling the town’s littering problem will be formed sometime in early 2011, town officials said this week.
“It’s going to be a huge undertaking,” Councilor Mike Brown said during the Town Council’s meeting on Monday night. “We’re going to need some good volunteers.”
 Each spring, members of the town’s Beautify Londonderry Committee join forces with volunteers from various community organizations, who spend several weekends picking up litter, planting flowers and completing countless other community projects. 

Beautify Londonderry, held in April and May each year, typically draws between 800 and 1,000 community volunteers. Past efforts have resulted in completed projects such as litter removal around the skate park, at the Kendall Pond Conservation Area, and on a number of roadways in town, as well as spring cleaning and planting on the grounds of the district’s schools, at the senior center, cable access center, Leach Library, police department, Town Common, the town offices and at the town’s fire stations, according to Paul Margolin of the Solid Waste Committee. 
Following this past spring’s mass cleanup, a concerned resident appeared before the council, urging the town to help combat its litter problem. “This was prompted by a neighborhood cleanup during Beautify Londonderry that was negated a couple weeks later by new littering,” Margolin said this week, noting town officials have since been exploring the possibility of posting anti-littering signs and imposing fines for littering, among other things. 
In early September, the Solid Waste Committee held a public forum, inviting a number of residents who had expressed concern about littering in the past, some of whom already do litter pickups in their neighborhoods. 
“We did a lot of brainstorming, and the consensus was that measures could be taken to increase town awareness of the problem, and to discourage littering behavior,” Margolin said. 
Also attending last fall’s meeting was Londonderry Police Chief Bill Hart, who supported the residents’ endeavors, noting the local police force could assist such efforts by monitoring littering “hot spots” as part of the town’s overall plan to tackle littering. 
“The idea is to educate, then enforce,” Hart said at that time. In the months to follow, members of the Solid Waste Committee have agreed to form a subcommittee focusing on Londonderry’s littering. 
“We plan to organize the group early in 2011,” Margolin said. The subcommittee’s focus will be on community awareness, with volunteers also playing the role of neighborhood watchdogs. 
Margolin said plans are in the works to host an informational meeting early next year aimed at informing residents who might be interested in serving on the new subcommittee. 
Once the subcommittee is formed, the group will gather regularly to brainstorm, presenting proposals to the town’s Solid Waste Committee and generating a plan of action. 

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