Editorial: A Good Place To Start

At a recent Dillon City Council meeting, a citizen made a complaint about litter. His complaint specifically dealt with those people who are hired to clean someone’s property and accomplish their work by blowing leaves, debris, and other trash onto someone else’s property rather than picking it up and disposing of it properly.
The citizen suggested that when these types of workers come in to get permits from the city to be able to work that they be required to sign a piece of paper stating that they know the S.C. Litter Law. He said that way when a complaint is made and found to be true that person would then suffer the fines and penalties associated with the law.
However, one councilman asked the citizen why that was litter.
If you honestly don’t know an answer, then you should ask a question, but this councilman’s question was particularly disturbing because if one of our councilmen does not have a basic understanding of what constitutes litter then we have a long way to go in getting the public educated as to what litter is and making sure the ordinances are enforced as much as possible. All of our council members should have a clear understanding of laws that are dealt with on a daily basis such as litter.
Litter is a serious problem in our county and our state, and it seems to be growing more serious. Mayor Todd Davis commented in the same meeting about the amount of litter he saw on a stretch of I-95. Our Sheriff’s Office has a team that has spent countless hours picking up thousands upon thousands of pounds of litter. The City of Dillon also has litter pickup.
In order to help clear up any questions we have printed a portion of the litter law here: “A person, from a vehicle or otherwise, may not dump, throw, drop, deposit, discard, or otherwise dispose of litter or other solid waste, as defined by Section 44-96-40(46) (this definition includes yard trash), upon public or private property or waters in the State including, but not limited to, a highway, park, beach, campground, forest land, recreational area, trailer park, road, street, or alley except:
“(1) on property designated by the State for the disposal of litter and other solid waste and the person is authorized to use the property for that purpose; or
“(2) into a litter receptacle in a manner that the litter is prevented from being carried away or deposited by the elements upon a part of the private or public property or waters.
“(B) Responsibility for the removal of litter from property or receptacles is upon the person convicted pursuant to this section of littering the property or receptacles. If there is no conviction for littering, the responsibility is upon the owner of the property.”
The penalties for violating this ordinance are as follows: “$200 is the minimum fine in South Carolina for littering any amount less than 15 pounds, plus court costs and a minimum of 15 hours litter gathering labor. For any amount of litter over 15 pounds and less than 500 pounds, there is a $200-$500 fine, mandatory community service, and a possible prison sentence not to exceed 90 days. Penalties for ILLEGAL DUMPING or the deposit of a collection of litter or garbage in an area not intended for that use, there is a fine of $1,000, and a minimum of 15 hours litter-gathering labor,” according to Palmetto Pride.
The Palmetto Pride website has a number of resources to help get the public more acquainted with litter and litter laws. Visit their website at www.palmettopride.org for more information.
If we are going to solve the problem, we need to get everyone on the same page.
The citizen’s suggestion to council and some litter education seems like a good place to start.