Horry County says the key to litter control is enforcement

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HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – Starting this week, police will ticket litter bugs on the spot. Horry County Council recently passed a resolution to eliminate warnings.

The state-wide organization Palmetto Pride promotes April as “zero tolerance” month for litter, but Keep Horry County Beautiful Chairman Bo Ives says litter control should be year round. He’s pleased council decided to step up enforcement.

The county completes a litter index annually. Locations are rated on a scale of 1-4 (1=good, 4=bad). Overall, the county received a 2.07.

Ives says litter is more than just an eye sore, it clogs waterways and drainage systems.

“It’s unacceptable,” stated Ives.”It’s insurmountable if you were to get out there and pick up all the litter that’s out there.”

However, picking up trash isn’t going to solve the problem.

“We need to change behavior,” explained Ives.

He says the county can change people’s behavior through education and enforcement. In South Carolina, litter fines range from $200 to $1,000, plus court fees. The amount of the fine depends on the weight of the litter. More severe offenders face up to one year in jail.

Ives says the fines apply to something as small as a cigarette butt.

“They smoke a pack or two, they buy them by the cartons, they throw them down by the cartons,” said Ives.

He says police officers aren’t the only ones responsible for enforcement.

“If you see a litter event, admonish them. Ask them to go back and pick it up, please do that. We’re not going to change behavior if we just sigh,” he said.

There are two ways to report litter bugs. You can call 877-7LITTER, or you can download Palmetto Pride’s TrashTracker app, which lets you submit a time, location, photo and possible license plate number.

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