A new initiative aims to literally clean up the region.
The Clean SOIL Campaign has a double meaning since soil is the thin layer of material covering the earth's surface and serves as an abbreviation for southern Illinois.
It's the brainchild of former Congressman and SIU President Glenn Poshard and retired Southern Illinoisan Outdoors writer Les Winkeler.
Poshard says the idea is to change habits through litter prevention education for students from elementary school through college.
"This is about education. It's about boots on the ground to clean the area up. But, it's not about a one-time clean it up campaign. This is something that has to be sustained over many, many years and to future generations."
Poshard says the litter has gotten so bad it's difficult to attract new businesses to the region and recruit students to SIU.
He says the campaign will move forward later this month when all the stakeholders -- which will include college students, environmental organizations and local business leaders -- get together for an all-day retreat to formulate a plan for the initiative.