Lessening litter: Top priority for Florence area

Lessening litter: Top priority for Florence area

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Florence should look cleaner over the next couple of days as volunteers fill bags with litter for the Great American Clean Up.

"When you enter a city or county that's not clean or has a lot of trash or litter, it just kind of turns people away, so we really wanted to focus on litter," said Michelle Bailey, chair of Keep Florence Beautiful.

Keep Florence Beautiful is hosting the event in Timrod Park from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday.

The non-profit provides the materials then assigns teams of volunteers to clean up certain areas around the city and county.

The teams will pick up the trash, leave the bags along the road and the city or county will be notified to pick those bags up.

The teams then have to report to Timrod Park Saturday, where they will document exactly how much trash they collected.

This year, there are two extra Great American Clean Up dates so the organization can accommodate more volunteers. The April 25th event will be at West Florence High School and an event on May 16th will be at South Florence High School.

However, people who want to beautify their neighborhood can do so at any time.

"Keep Florence Beautiful is a 24/7 organization and we will provide you with the supplies that you need anytime of the day or year," Bailey said.

The Great American Clean Up usually accounts for several tons of trash being pick up from Florence's public spaces, but the amount of litter could decrease if Florence County passes proposed legislation on litter.

Florence Count Environmental Services is trying to cut down on the problem with new county legislation it has proposed to County Council's Justice and Public Safety Committee.

"The only people that will be offended or upset by the proposed legislation are the folks that are doing this," said Herbie Christmas, a Florence County Environmental Services officer.

Right now in the county, someone can face up to a $200 dollar fine for any amount of litter, Christmas said. The legislation would raise the fine to the state maximum standard of $500 for more than 15 pounds of litter. It would also give the county the ability to use information found within the litter to prosecute someone, such as a name found on a piece of paper.

"Basically meaning that you're ultimately responsible for your refuse until it reaches an appropriate disposal site," Christmas said.

Access to disposal sites is another way to decrease litter, which proved itself when the county added places for people to drop off tires.

"The number of tires that we picked up on the side of the road went from about 8,000 to about 800 from one year to the next because people had an outlet to dispose of them," Christmas said.

Electronic waste is taking place of the tires though because disposal sites are limited, he said.

"Consciously if you just look around you'll see TVs and computer equipment on the side of the road now that you didn't see two or three years ago," Christmas said.

The litter problem is everywhere, but that's not stopping people in Florence County from actually doing something about it whether it's Keeping Florence Beautiful volunteers or Environmental Services.

"It's probably no worse here than anywhere else. It's just a little more personal because it's in Florence County and that's where I live and reside," Christmas said.

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