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Invest in Our Planet

Mar 30, 2022 10:32AM ● By Kristina Parella

For the past 50 years, more than 1 billion people in 193 countries across the globe have come together on April 22 to celebrate Earth Day. This day is not a holiday or simply a movement, it is a day during which environmentally conscious people combine efforts to raise awareness of overpopulation, deforestation and pollution, as well as the depleting conditions of the climate and biodiversity. Earth Day efforts during the 1970s resulted in substantial environmental legislation, including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Superfund law, the Toxic Substances Control Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

The theme for Earth Day 2022 is “invest in our planet” to build a sustainable future. Environmental protection begins with YOU—your choices, your activities, your social actions, your personal attitude, and your use of resources. Each governing body, business, authority, family and individual has a voice. There is power in numbers; together we can make our voices HEARD and make a difference. Although we may not live to see the benefits, even a miniscule lifestyle change can make a huge, positive impact on the planet.

As history has repeatedly proven, human civilization has consistently taken a toll on Mother Earth. We have continued to modify and alter the planet through urbanization and commercialization. These developments come at a price that we often fail to consider—scientists now believe that ecosystems untouched by human intervention no longer exist. Americans have become increasingly dependent on conveniences, such as manufactured plastic products; extravagant homes; coal and fossil fuels; chemical herbicides, fertilizers and pesticides; unlimited technology; and multiple modes of transportation. These seemingly harmless indulgences lead to increased carbon emissions (air pollution), natural disasters and extreme weather, disease, deforestation, climate change, carbon footprints, and degradation of the environment. 

It is time to begin adopting a green economy on all levels by creating a firm foundation for the future. The solution is to take action now—act in a bold way, innovate in a broad way, and expend resources conservatively and implement in an equitable manner. Intelligent and innovative companies are slowly turning “green” as they realize that they are a critical part of shaping the future. Governments are beginning to support and encourage efforts by institutions, businesses and societies to ensure opportunities for future generations. This includes education, conservation, recycling, shopping wisely, composting, carpooling, and reducing and reusing materials to help reduce waste. 

Join these community partners on the crusade to protect natural resources and promote awareness of the health of our environment:

City of Columbia:

City of Columbia begins ground-level ozone season testing (April through October). 

Ground-level ozone testing is important now because conditions are favorable to its formation. Also known as smog, ground-level ozone is formed when exhaust from cars, trucks, industries and electric utility plants react in sunlight and heat. Midlands area residents are encouraged to sign up for ozone forecasts at

For more information, call 803-545-2722 or visit ColumbiaSC.Gov. 

Keep the Midlands Beautiful (KMB):

KMB has resources and activities to clean up litter and donate used shoes:

🌎 Drop off gently used shoes—all types/sizes—until May 31; to be reused in developing countries. Drop-off locations are on the KMB website.

🌎 Participate in the national Great American Cleanup by picking up litter alone or in a group before June 22. Contact KMB to get supplies.

For more information and updates, call 803-733-1139 or visit

Sonoco Recycling:

Sonoco Recycling strives to help businesses, industries and communities put the power of recycling to work to boost revenue, create opportunities, and save resources.

Recycle paper cans today! Sonoco’s rigid paper containers have a lighter weight and reduced environmental footprint than comparably sized steel cans or other rigid packaging types. The recyclable cans can be collected through any standard recycling program, creating a lower environmental impact versus landfill. 

For more information, visit

Lexington County Recycling/Solid Waste & Stormwater:

Sign up to be a Lexington County Litter Champion at

🌎 Remember to pick up your dog’s poop! Email [email protected] for more information.

🌎 Sign up for their next composting/rain barrel workshop at [email protected].

🌎 Batesburg-Leesville High School Recycling Event on Saturday, April 23, from 8 a.m. to noon. Materials accepted include electronics (limit eight), shreddable documents (limit five boxes), tires (limit eight), gently used shoes, and scrap metal.

🌎 Monthly household hazardous waste disposal is happening! Visit for the next event.

🌎 Have you tried the Lex Co Solid Waste app yet? It’s available for iPhone and Android.

🌎 Follow them on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

For more information, call 803-785-3325, ext. 6, or visit

Richland County Stormwater Management Division (RCSMD):

RCSMD offers reminders and programs to benefit the environment:

🌎 Be sure to always pick up and properly dispose of pet waste. Visit for a free pet waste station for your neighborhood.

🌎 It’s time to mark storm drains! Learn how to volunteer for this fun community program at

For regular updates on stormwater programs and events, visit

Sustainable Midlands:

In addition to bringing back old favorites like the Tasty Tomato Festival in a few months, Sustainable Midlands is excited to celebrate Earth Day all month long with a variety of cleanups, workshops and community events to create a more sustainable, healthy community:

🌎 4/3 - First-Ever Sustainable Yard Tour. A peek into 11 sustainable sites around downtown Columbia. Free and open to the public.

🌎 4/16 - Spring Workday at Rosewood Public Orchard with Columbia Resilience at Owens Field.

🌎 4/20 - Spring Cleaning Upcycled Art Workshop with local artist Katie Chandler at the NoMa Warehouse.

🌎 4/23 - Earth Day Weekend Cleanup with Steel Hands Brewing and Percent Day benefitting Sustainable Midlands.

For more information, contact director Becca Smith at [email protected] or visit

Richland County Recycling Division:

🌎 Richland County Recycling Day will be held on Saturday, May 14, from 8 a.m. to noon, at the S.C. State Fairgrounds, located at 1200 Rosewood Drive, in Columbia. The list of acceptable materials includes: computers, TVs, printers, mobile devices (limit five devices per car), scrap metal, tires (limit five per car), latex paint, household hazardous wastes (chemicals, cleaners, pesticides, fertilizers, etc.), and shreddable paper (limit five boxes per car). 

For more information, including a complete list of acceptable items, call 803-576-3588 or visit

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