Lending a helping hand

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 14, 2007

You many see some young people hunched over sidewalks on Saturday, looking like they might be getting into mischief. Don’t be so quick to call authorities.

Some Southampton Academy students will be helping the environment, but they won’t be picking up trash along highways, cleaning out a stream bed of old tires and appliances or doing anything specifically aimed at reducing greenhouse emissions.

Instead, these teens, under the watchful eye of Riverkeeper Jeff Turner, will be installing badges near stormwater drains reminding people that what gets dumped into those drains can very easily find its way to any one of the three rivers that grace this county: The Meherrin, Nottoway and Blackwater.

It’s taken years to get the rivers into the terrific condition they’re in today after years of abuse from municipal and industrial waste.

People still show their lazy ways from time to time, dumping all sorts of toxins into storm drains, poisons that follow gravity into the waters.

By installing the round, blue badges into the concrete by the drains, would-be polluters might be encouraged to dispose of their garbage in safer, more conventional means. The badges will serve as warnings against illegal actions, much like speed limit signs.

But, we all know, speed limit signs don’t always curb the lead-footed. These badges won’t stop everyone from using the stormwater systems for their personal dumping grounds. They will stop a few, a few more than were stopped a week ago.