Cigarette butts bugging beach goers, police in Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Cigarette butts are piling up on Myrtle Beach-area beaches and some beach goers say they're fed up with the smokers responsible. So are police, and they're reminding those who litter they could face a hefty fine.

The City of Myrtle Beach has littering ordinances and anyone who authorities witness littering could be charged more than $200. Those same fines apply on and off the beach.

Myrtle Beach Police Spokesman Capt. David Knipes said the city cleans the beaches daily, but cigarette butts often escape the grip of machines.

Visitors found dozens of cigarette butts within a few minutes and many say it ruins part of the beach experience for them.

"We've seen cigarette butts, we've seen bags and candy wrappers and bottles," said Judi Merritt.

Some beach goers say the majority of the litter they see is cigarettes and they have no patience for smokers who litter.

"They are some of the most ignorant people there are because they seem to think that it's not litter and they just throw them anywhere," said Dale Hobaugh.

Knipes says the state has its own statutes against littering, which carry an even larger fine than the city's at almost $500. He says officers would have to see someone throwing cigarette pieces on the ground to cite them.

"It's very hard to enforce in the fact that these people could be there for hours and unless the officer directly sees them litter, there's really not a lot that can be done," said Knipes.

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