April is 'Zero Tolerance for Litter' month in Horry County

Published: Mar. 31, 2014 at 8:40 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 1, 2014 at 6:56 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - If you litter in Horry County, expect to pay the price. On Tuesday, the county council is taking up a measure deeming April "Zero Tolerance for Litter," month.

This is a statewide initiative, sponsored by Palmetto Pride, but now it is being enforced right on our roads, so people take the litter laws more seriously.  It's not just about the fines; littering is an eyesore on the roads which many people say can hurt our tourism industry. It also is a harm to our environment. A Styrofoam cup you dump on the side of the road could take 50 years to decompose, according to the Department of Health, a glass bottle could take one million years.

Many people say they think this initiative will work – they think if just a few people got fined, especially locals, it would spread the word.

You can get hit with a monetary fine, mandatory community service hours or jail time, just for throwing one thing on our roads.  When you add court fees, fines for littering range from $470 to over $1,000 dollars, depending on how much you litter.

When you compare the price you'll pay for dumping unwanted trash, to other violations, you can see, when it comes to littering, South Carolina means business.  According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, traffic ticket fines, with the exception of DUI, typically do not exceed $500 dollars.  The county solicitor says, first offense prostitution fines, cost $200 dollars and with court costs, add up to about $500.  That's about the same price you pay for throwing a cigarette butt out your car window.

If you want to help crack down on litter bugs, you can. Palmetto Pride sponsors a 24-hour, statewide Litter Busters Hotline. The program, sponsored by the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Public Safety, works like this:

You spot someone tossing litter from an automobile. You immediately call or go online and fill out this form:

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