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Cliff Williams / The Outlook Barbara Sokol picks up trash along Campground Road Friday.

The sight of litter on the roadside almost makes John Thompson’s blood boil.

Thompson has dedicated much of his time to not only cleaning up the roadsides and lakeshore around Tallapoosa County but in trying to educate how litter can affect water quality. Friday he and three other volunteers took a little action on a wooded section of Campground Road to properly dispose of litter and trash, some accidentally blown from a car but other trash intentionally dumped.

“This is about as bad as it gets, I think,” Thompson said while digging through cups, cans, bottles and fast-food wrappers on the side of the road. “I don’t think it can get much worse than this. It has been used for years for trash.”

Thompson was joined Friday by three frequent partners in crime who answer Thompson’s phone call knowing a trash pickup is likely coming. Barbara Sokol, Tammie McVicker and Bill Thompson. And it’s always a good time.

“Yes, we have the same last name,” Bill said. “John wants to say we are kin but we’re not.”

John Thompson said Sokol is always there for the community.

"I didn’t have to ask but once and she was all over it,” Thompson said. “She always is. Everywhere she goes she does good stuff.”

Sokol said the stretch of Campground Road is like a few other roads in the area where litter and trash accumulate.

“They get away with it when it’s a wooded area,” Sokol said. “That is the way on other streets in the area.”

Thompson took notice. There was a discarded television and a sofa but most of the trash was just plain carelessness in a car or truck.

“Most of this is window trash here,” Thompson said. “People just throw it out as they drive down the road or don’t secure it in the back of a truck. The television, well that just makes my blood boil because that is beyond intentional.”

Miles from Lake Martin many don’t realize what can happen to a bottle or television left on the side of the road.

“It seems about 100 yards here, it’s just a trash stop,” Thompson said. “With a heavy rain it heads downhill to the ditches. The ditches head to the streams and the streams to the lake.”

Picking up litter and trash from the side of the road should be unnecessary but volunteering to help clean up does more than clean the roadside of an unsightly nuisance.

“This is not only good community service, it is good exercise,” Thompson said. “It gets you off the couch and doing something worthwhile for the community.”

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.

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