Litterers beware: Horry County isn’t going to tolerate you trashing our home.
That’s the message that Horry County Council sent at their meeting Tuesday as they passed a resolution that added teeth to the warning.
According to Bo Ives, chairman of the board of directors of Keep Horry County Beautiful, the trash problem on our highways is caused by a small fraction of the county’s residents and visitors. He quoted Keep America Beautiful statistics showing that four percent of people cause the majority of littering.
Ives also noted that there were two key groups of people who need to be reached to help stop littering.
One group is made up of truck drivers who don’t cover the loads they’re hauling, as law requires them to do. According to Ives, a lot of the trash on highways comes from these “untethered” loads on trucks and trailers.
The other group, however, are people who intentionally litter.
“Most of them are males between age 17 and 34 who don’t have a stake in society and have a devil-may-care attitude,” Ives said. “Those are the people we need to reach.”
Keep Horry County Beautiful evaluated 107 sites around the county as part of the Keep America Beautiful requirements, and found that while most of the roadways and parks remained about the same or improved, a few had gotten worse over the last year.
Sites on Forestbrook Road and Highway 9, along with Highway 31 interchanges with International Drive and Highway 501 had all gotten worse, while sites like the Pauley Swamp Road/Pee Dee Highway intersection and River Oaks Drive had improved significantly.
Littering and illegal dumping is a big problem on the major highways in Horry County. In the past year, county employees have picked up 58 dump truck loads of trash, including a refrigerator, a Christmas tree, eight mattresses, and over 1,700 bags of trash on Highway 501 alone.
And when trash like that gets into drainpipes, it can clog them, leading to stormwater issues and flooding.
When Ives finished his presentation on how Keep Horry County Beautiful was doing, County Councilman Al Allen announced the new resolution to make Horry County a “No Break Zone for Littering.”
“If you get caught, it will not be a slap on the wrist,” Allen said of the resolution. “We’re going to do everything that we possibly can to charge you and prosecute you to the maximum that the law allows.
“I would encourage our county and municipal judges to also come on board with this,” he continued.
Allen also challenged his fellow politicians.
“There’s going to be a lot of signs out there, and win, lose, or draw, that does not negate your responsibility,” he said. “You have three days according to county ordinance to pick up your signs after the general election– if you want to serve the people, show us.”
His final two challenges were for the media and private citizens. He encouraged news outlets to put convicted litterers’ names up for the public to see, and told private citizens to keep their cell phones handy and take photos or videos if they see someone littering, and send it to someone who can take action.
“Send it to me,” he said. “It’s time for us to start identifying these people.”
Allen also directed his harshest words toward litterers themselves.
“We may not catch you tonight, we may not catch you tomorrow, but sooner or later we’re going to have a county or state law enforcement car behind you, we’re going to get you on camera,” he said, speaking directly to the county’s video cameras which broadcast the meeting live. “This is our home, and we want to keep it clean.”