HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) Litter - it's dirty, it harms the environment and it's all over our roads. Driving around the Grand Strand it's hard to ignore the presence of litter, but one local group of volunteers is committed to making it disappear.
By the looks of things it seems that litter is not something punishable by law, but that isn't the case. In the state of South Carolina the minimum fine a litter bug can face for the improper disposal of anything below 15 pounds is $200, and that's not including court fees.
Local laws also prohibit littering. The Horry County law states, "When litter is thrown from a vehicle or allowed to escape therein, the driver will be held responsible for the improper disposal of the litter, regardless of who throws the litter."
Littering along a Horry County road can set you back up to $225.
Unfortunately, these fines and laws against litter do not keep people from littering, leaving our roads and communities sprinkled with un-wanted trash.
The Keep Horry County Beautiful Committee is a local volunteer group focused on cleaning up the county and applying beautification efforts. The volunteer organization believes the existence of litter breeds more litter, explains Bo Ives, the Vice Chair of the Keep Horry County Beautiful Committee.
"We want to get across to them, your mamma doesn't work around here and she isn't here to clean up after you so please, don't litter in the first place," says Ives.
During its second index of Horry County, Keep Horry County Beautiful gave the area a two out of four, ranking the county as moderately littered.
"To be a two is really not bad, but we have a long way to go," Ives explains.
Keep Horry County Beautiful needs more people to pitch in and help the county's litter level go down to a level one, a rating Ives describes as pristine.
"We're trying to find out what areas are littered and get established groups to adopt an area and that's catching on," Ives says.
Keeping roadways clean is also essential to attracting tourists to re-visit the Grand Strand.
"People are not taking care of their property if it's not picked up and I think it's good for tourists if people do pick up after themselves," says Gayle Hedley of Ontario who visits the Grand Strand for three months every winter.
The most heavily traveled roads are also the most littered, Ives says, which also happens to be the roads tourists see the most.
"The more attractive out thoroughfares are and the more litter free, the more positive [tourist's] experiences will be, no one wants to come to a littered area for their vacations, so we want to show them that we care too," Ives says.
The Keep Horry County Beautiful Committee meets once a month at the Horry County Government and Justice Center. If you are interested in learning more about the committee and how you can help in its efforts click here.