Coleman hoping Litter Sweep puts dent in roadside litter

Nita Coleman.jpeg

Nita Coleman


By Anna Goodwin McCarthy

Saturday, April 20, 2019

As a pediatrician, Nita Coleman spent more than 36 years working to improve the health and welfare of children.

Although she’s now retired, she continues her devotion to future generations through her work with environmental causes.

A member of Green Saves Green, an area environmental advocacy group, Coleman serves as one of the organizers of Litter Sweep in Pasquotank County, a two-week litter collection campaign that continues through Saturday, April 27.

“Litter is a problem, and we need to do something about it,” said Coleman.

Coleman said residents of Perquimans, Chowan and Camden are all taking part in Litter Sweep in those counties as well. Litter Sweep is a statewide initiative through the N.C. Department of Transportation.

So far, participation in Litter Sweep in Pasquotank has been positive, Coleman said.

“We are pretty excited about the public response,” she said. “We have a lot of folks signing up.”

People interested in volunteering to participate in Litter Sweep in Pasquotank County can sign up to do so on the county's website.

There are various options on the website for joining Litter Sweep: You can participate as an individual, join an existing group or start your own group. A pamphlet produced by DOT outlining safety rules and guidelines for litter-collection volunteers is also available on the website.

Supplies such as grabbers to pick up litter, gloves, safety vests and bags can be picked up at the Pasquotank County Library.

“It’s a great community service project for students and anybody who wants to help their community,” Coleman said.

Participating in Litter Sweep is also a good way to be a role model, she suggests.

“Children learn more from what we do than what we say,” Coleman said. “If you see a piece of litter, pick it up.”

Coleman believes the creation of most litter is “unintentional” — that a lot of it collects on roadsides after blowing out of passing vehicles. She says litter can be prevented by properly securing loads of garbage when transporting them to the landfill or a recycling center.

More than four decades ago, Coleman moved to Elizabeth City with her husband, Karl Brandspigel, who is also a physician.

“Collectively we have met a lot wonderful families in this region,” said Coleman, who treated thousands of patients during her career. “And even though I am retired I still think of the kids.”

It is one of the main reasons Coleman says she continues to work for environmental causes in the community. When she’s not volunteering, Coleman enjoys outdoor activities and gardening.

For more information about the Litter Sweep in Pasquotank County, visit https://www.pasquotankcountync.org/litter-sweep.