ONE PERSON and one department cannot make sure that the city of Sharon is clean or that illegal dumping is a thing of the past.

The city’s code enforcement officer, Dave Tomko, has been a crusader, sending the message that a community on the rise cannot sit back and let trash and rundown houses become its legacy.

And there are others who have joined him, volunteers who have come out on a Saturday and picked up everything from old tires to discarded trash, or who have fished the same out of the river.

And they have really just made a dent. They have made progress, but there is still much work to do.

So it is not a surprise that there are still piles of garbage in remote dumping areas around this city — or that there are still houses with sagging walls and boarded up windows.

If we want to start to control the mess, we have to take part in the cleanup — and back the enforcement against those who will not follow the rules.

Bottom line is this — Sharon’s dilapidated houses and blight problem, and the trash that mars some neighborhoods and side streets, did not get there because of the city or a lack of rules.

It got this bad because people did not care enough to dispose of their waste properly or to care for the properties they own or rent.

And no one held them accountable.

Fast forward a few years. Now we have some stronger rules and some enforcement. So, the roadwork that has been done and the development that is in the works will not be decorated with empty soda bottles and discarded fast food wrappers or sit next to rundown and abandoned homes or buildings.

But there is something else that can be accomplished while the city’s leaders focus on those who choose to mar this community.

We can be part of the solution.

If someone is dumping, report them.

If you see a house that needs attention, let someone know.

And if you walk out your front door and see some trash tossed on the side of the road or an escapee from a neighbor’s garbage can, pick it up.

There will likely be more community and river cleanups. There will be more chances for residents to join the neighborhood watches and other gatherings designed to keep this community safe.

Donate a little time. Be part of making Sharon a better place.

The alleyway we showed you this week was filled with remnants that were more than just casual littering. They were items that were purposely discarded without regard to where they should have been put or how they could be legally be disposed of.

That area got that way because no one said “no more.”

Once it is cleaned up, and it does need to be cleaned up as soon as possible, we have to be part of making sure it is not allowed to get like that again.

Keeping the dumpers from just going somewhere else requires vigilance — and people willing to keep their eyes open and their pens ready to write down license numbers.

It is just another example of “If you see something, say something.”

We have to be part of the Keep Sharon Clean effort.

There are not enough Dave Tomkos or code enforcement officers to do it alone.