HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Horry County Council agreed with the Keep Horry County Beautiful (KHCB) organization to make April Zero Tolerance month. It is part of KHCB's initiative to tackle the littering problem in the county.
KHCB just released the results from the annual litter assessment it completed back in late February.
Horry County received a 2.07 out of a 1 to 4 rating scale for litter. That means, the county scored about average compared to others across the country.
However, Bo Ives, chairman of KHCB, wants the county to be better than average. Thus, the organization has been working closely with the county and law enforcement to help make that happen.
Police officers will now be looking out more closely for litterers, and Ives also encourages the magistrates in court to be less lenient.
"Don't be afraid to throw the maximum $1,000 fine out because when words gets out you won't have to do it anymore. So, do it. Get people to wake up, change their ways. Because if we don't change behaviors… and that's what we're about, we want to change people's habit," said Ives.
He says the majority of people who litter are 18-34 year old males.
Now, there are multiple tools in place to stop those litterers. One, is a new app called Trash Tracker.
"If you see a littering event and you're able to catch it on your phone, we'll know the time of day, we'll get the coordinates, the GPS coordinates of when you witnessed it, and if you can zoom in on their license tag - we've got them," said Ives.
Another tool is the Road Side Litter Patrol, an organization that started three years ago to help clean up the roads. The organization is comprised of three full time groups that go out daily into the community to pick up trash. The employees who work for these groups are paid with accommodation taxes.
Ives says that the groups need help, and the best help comes from those within the community.
"After the first cigarette is down it invites more and then it just proliferates. And that's why we want to nip it in the bud, pun intended," said Ives.
Ives encourages the entire public to keep an eye out for litterers, and actively work to put a stop to it as well.