Volunteers frustrated by lack of support for litter control in Horry County

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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The issue of litter and trash led to more clean-up efforts Saturday, volunteers picked up litter along the roads in Carolina Forest as part of Keep Horry County Beautiful.

Volunteers say addressing the litter problem remains an issue despite the efforts of concerned people doing their part.

Some say they are not getting the support they need to keep Horry County beautiful.

“The amount of trash is very significant,” said Richard Skrip with Beautify Carolina Forest, a non-profit dedicated to keeping the roads in the area clean.

This year, Skrip says 35 volunteers have already picked up more than 300 bags of trash, but it’s not enough to keep the streets clear.

“When you have a beautiful Saturday like this it becomes very difficult to get people to pick up trash from the side of the road,” said Skrip.

Skrip says the lack of volunteers is concerning, but so are people attitudes towards their efforts.

“We’ve actually had people throw trash at us, in fact this fall, striking my wife as she was picking up trash along the median of Carolina Forest Boulevard,” said Skrip.

Skrip spends two weekends each month trying to tackle the trash, but the more he does, the more it just keeps coming.

“9 miles of roadways becomes very taxing for the volunteers,” said Skrip.

Skrip said he tried to get some help using the Trash Tracker app from Palmetto Pride that lets people identify litter hot spots.

“Unfortunately we’ve tried to use the app several times, but what we’ve found is that it’s not being relayed to the people who need to know about it here in the county,” said Skrip.

A case in point is a barrel in a ditch off Augusta Plantation Drive. It was first reported on May 4th of 2015, was flagged by three people and acknowledged by the litter buster hotline; but more than a year later, it still remained.

Skrip vows to continue the pick-ups but would like to see more support for the cause.

“We as volunteers can only do so much, we can pick up trash off the side of the road but can’t provide the enforcement part of it,” said Skrip.

News13 reached out to Palmetto Pride who said:

The Trash Tracker app does allow people to post action requests. We then forward the information to either the city, county or SCDOT, as we do not have jurisdiction over any roadway in South Carolina. We do follow up to make sure nothing is outstanding, and if we find something, we send another request to the proper agency to address the issue. Some departments are better at responding than others. Some counties are better at responding. It is not a perfect system but it does work most of the time. This incident shows why it is vital that governments – city, county and state – need to participate in litter prevention and support efforts to prevent litter. Cleaning it up is part of the solution, but prevention is the goal. Enforcing litter laws and educating citizens are also part of the solution.

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