For some of us, tossing a McDonalds bag out a car window would seem strange and out of character.
If only everyone felt that way.
On Friday at the Annual Meeting, Esther Wagner, special events program manager for PalmettoPride, laid out ways that cities and towns could control and prevent litter during a session that drew dozens of municipal officials.
Here are a few:
• Mini grants — PalmettoPride is offering a mini grant
for South Carolina municipalities to purchase trash receptacles for
downtown areas or parks. Municipalities must demonstrate an active
litter reduction program including, but not limited, to enforcement,
regular emptying of trash cans, and routine maintenance and cleaning of
area in need.
• Awareness — The city website should feature disposal information and anti-littering messages. “You should be very clear about where things are to be dumped, which dumps will take mattresses, which ones will take e-waste. Have that easily accessible for your people,” Wagner said. “People are going to landfills and are being turned away and dumping stuff on their way back."
• Ordinances — “You can’t enforce litter laws if you don’t have litter laws,” said Wagner. PalmettoPride can provide a sample ordinance. “Make sure that your officers are well trained, so they know what to do for a litter stop and how to make a litter ticket stick,” she said.
• Judicial support — “We get a lot of reports that the judiciary and prosecutors don’t support their tickets,” said Wagner. “If you have that issue, come to us, and we will see what we can to do help you train those people on why it’s important.
• Hotline — PalmettoPride sponsors a statewide Litter Busters Hotline, thanks to the cooperation of the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Public Safety. Call 877-7LITTER (754-8837) to report the location, time and the litterbug’s license number. S.C. DPS will send the offender a letter, noting littering isn't tolerated in South Carolina, and fines or jail time could result.
• Tree grants — Wagner said PalmettoPride gets seedlings for pennies on the dollar. State inmates nurture the seedlings for two or three years until they’re old enough to adopt out for beautification. Inmates have gotten jobs in landscaping companies after this experience.
• Parolees — A judge assigns a specific road to be cleaned up as part
of an individual’s parole. A city employee can drive by and make sure
the road’s been cleaned up. "If it’s not, let the judge know."