EDITORIAL: Waste Day Proved Almost Too Successful
The recently held household hazardous waste collection day suffered too much success, but it illustrates both need for this service and residents' alertness to environmental issues.
Sponsors were overwhelmed when hundreds of residents showed up at Pinecrest High School to dispose of a broad variety of toxic materials that had been sitting around in garages, storage rooms and back porches. The organizers of the event had no way of expecting a turnout of more than triple the expected magnitude. After all, they had checked with other communities that recently sponsored such gatherings and had based their planning on those estimates.
A financial factor was also involved. The sponsors, including Moore County, Southern Pines, Pinehurst and Aberdeen, were paying contractors to dispose of the hazardous waste. It would have been unwise to obligate these local governments for a costly program that did not attract sufficient response.
Bringing In Reinforcements
Despite the unexpectedly large response, the sponsors lost no time implementing Plan B. The hazardous waste disposal contractor immediately called for an additional tractor-trailer, driven in from as far away as Reidsville. And they enlisted dozens of volunteers from the public waiting to unload thousands of pounds of accumulated messy, dangerous stuff.
We sympathize with the people who grew frustrated while waiting in line for long periods and even more so for those who were turned away when the sponsors ran out of time, equipment and space. Impatience and annoyance are understandable.
However, the sponsors had no way of predicting such a massive turnout for an event that had not been widely publicized. For one thing, the slow economy of the past year has resulted in diminished activity among homebuilders and real estate transfers, practices that tend to increase accumulation of such things as paint cans and furniture strippers.
The Right Spirit
Even in a sluggish economy, Moore County is a busy place. It is home to some of the most environmentally sensitive and public-spirited people in North Carolina. They are aware that it is unsafe and illegal to toss hazardous materials into the trash or pour them into the ground or the sewer system. They had held on to these materials while waiting for a suitable method of disposal to come along.
Joan Neal, director of Keep Moore County Beautiful, and Jeff Batten, Pinehurst assistant village manager, are making plans for another collection day. They promise more trucks, more equipment and more volunteers for future versions.
The sponsors deserve our highest praise for their dedication and innovative, energetic response to an overwhelming challenge. We wish them a smoother operation next time around.
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