The Laurinburg-Scotland County Area Chamber of Commerce kicked off local efforts on Friday by giving out free food and trash bags to interested participants.
Members of the chamber's image committee were at Nic's Pic Kwik on North Main Street to register participants.
"We are trying to make people aware that it is easy to get out and pick up trash," Image Committee Chair Pete Morris said. "We want people to know that they are not locked in to a certain day and a certain area."
"We are trying to make it as easy as possible. If they come out, we give them a free piece of pizza and let them take the bag home. They can go to any area of their choice any time they want."
"They can pick up trash year round but we especially would like them to pick a day in the next two weeks and do it."
"The governor has set aside two weeks for North Carolina to do it and this is the Chamber's way of kicking of Scotland County's efforts."
The state's efforts begin Saturday and run through Oct. 3.
The committee chair says they time local litter sweep to prepare for upcoming events.
"We always try to get it before a lot of the things going on in the fall," Morris said. "There is a lot of activity around Scotland County in the fall so its a great time for us to get out and clean up and make it look a little better for visitors."
Some of the upcoming community events are: Kuumba Festival, Sept. 25-26; Highland Games, Oct. 3; Relay for Life, Oct. 3-4; and the John Blue Cotton Festival, Oct. 10-11.
"We are trying to set an example to encourage folks to cleanup the litter," Joe Barnhill, Sr said. "I think it would give us a much better image in the community if we got all the litter picked up."
Barnhill, a member of the image committee, says the chamber is trying to draw attention to the issue of litter.
"It just seems to me that we need to try to attract more attention to the problem to see if we can get some more volunteers to clean it up and then figure out some way to get people to stop throwing it out."
Barnhill says he's not just out picking up litter for the chamber. He takes issue with people who litter.
"I'm doing it just because it bothers me. Rather than complain about, I go out and pick it up."
About 60 people came to the event, said Program Director Matt Kendall. He said they went through 10 pizzas, donated by Nic's, during the event.
"I think we had a nice size turnout," Kendall said. "Just so long as we can get the message out there that we need to keep the county clean."
"We just want to have the area looking nice for when all these people come in."
Kendall said the chamber used to hold its litter sweeps on Saturday mornings and they typically had a low turnout.
"Having this many people come out on a Friday afternoon is an excellent number for us."
North Carolina's fall Litter Sweep is led by the Department of Transportation.
“Litter is not only an eyesore, it also can be a safety hazard and harm the environment,” said Transportation Secretary Gene Conti. “Litter Sweep provides an opportunity for all citizens to enhance their local communities and the state’s environment by removing roadside litter and debris.”
AAH groups and other volunteers, along with N.C. Department of Correction inmate squads and individuals in the Community Service Work Program will participate by picking up litter along state roadsides. NCDOT employees will also pick up litter and remove orange trash-filled bags left along the roadsides by other participating groups.
Throughout Litter Sweep, the N.C. State Highway Patrol will focus on individuals that either litter or fail to properly secure their loads. Upon conviction, offenders can be fined up to $2,000, plus 24 hours of community service work and one point on their driver license.
All motorists are encouraged to participate in Litter Sweep by disposing of trash in garbage containers and by taking the time to properly secure vehicle and trailer loads. Citizens are also reminded that cigarette butts are considered pollutants and can contaminate water when discarded onto roadways and sidewalks.
More than 2 million pounds of litter is expected to be removed during the 2009 fall Litter Sweep. More than 2.1 million pounds of roadside litter was picked up during the 2008 fall Litter Sweep and more than 2.5 million pounds was picked up during the 2009 spring Litter Sweep, compared to 2.4 million pounds picked up during the 2008 spring Litter Sweep.