Florence leaders address trash piling up around city

Pee Dee

FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) — Florence city leaders are concerned over the trash piling up alongside roads in the city.

“We need to stop,” city council member Pat Gibson-Hye Moore said. “We need to do better. Our communities are looking bad.”

Gibson-Hye Moore spoke to News13 in front of an empty lot in East Florence that looked more like a dump– a recliner, fan and television among the items discarded.

“The city does not pick up appliances or furniture; you’re supposed to take it to the landfills,” she said. “I’ve been noticing it for quite a while but it’s gotten worse over the past year.”

Tim Waters lives in Florence and has taken it upon himself to be a part of the solution. He’s hauled over 40 couches to the dump over the last month or so.

“It’s like I’m the unofficial trash man,” he said with a laugh. “Nobody is going to come here and build a home if there’s trash… We got to do something. And it starts with me.”

It’s not only garbage. City officials also say they’re seeing more litter, as are other areas of the state.

“A lot of our restaurants are still serving primarily through drive throughs, so people are getting take outs,” deputy city manager Scotty Davis said, explaining one possible explaination.

Councilwoman Lethonia Barnes says another driver behind the trash is a decrease in volunteers working to clean the city because of COVID.

Barnes says she wants to see more people take pride in their community.

She’s working on an initiative called Project Community Unity that will involve many groups working to clean the area.

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we brought all the entities together,” she said. “Because some have resources, but not volunteers and some have volunteers but not the resources.”

She hopes to get the initiative going in late spring or summer when COVID cases are hopefully lower. She says anyone who wants to help should contact city or county council, or the city of Florence.

“We’re going to need all hands on deck,” Councilwoman Barnes said. “This is a growing problem. The city and the county cannot do this alone. We will need the community and individuals to join with us.”

Councilwoman Gibson-Hye Moore said she plans to request that the local landfills are listed on the city’s website in an effort to help this issue.

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