Litter Control Week aims to raise awareness, enforce litter laws

Landon Stamper, Aiken Standard, S.C.
·2 min read

Apr. 15—Monday marked the start of Litter Control Week in South Carolina, as officials try to combat a problem that exists across the state.

April is the state's Zero Tolerance for Litter Month, and the week is designed to educate and enforce state and local litter laws.

During 2020, more than 1,500 people statewide were cited for littering, according to Palmetto Pride, South Carolina's anti-littering organization. According to the organization, more than 80% of littering is intentional.

Keep Aiken County Beautiful was started in 2019 to address litter in Aiken County. While the program is still young, it has accomplished a fair amount. Program Coordinator Kandace Cave said KACB has distributed more litter pickup supplies in the first quarter of 2021 than it did during the entire 2020 calendar year.

"Over 3,000 bags have been distributed this year," Cave said. "This demand for cleanup supplies indicates that people are tired of the litter and are willing to donate their time to help clean up our county. It is great that so many people are becoming more conscience of this ongoing issue and are taking action. I think we all want to get to a point where litter no longer exists in our community."

Cave said KACB is planning its next large cleanup for Saturday, May 29. Titled Clean Slate on Highway 78, the event will target a 9-mile stretch of the highway. KACB is looking for at least 100 volunteers, Cave said. For more information, visit aikencountysc.gov/KACB.

Samuel Ford, one of Aiken County's litter enforcement officers, said litter is a problem that has to constantly be addressed. Otherwise, it can become a big problem quickly.

"It does not take very long for litter to accumulate if left unchecked," Ford said.

Ford also said enforcement officers write tickets year-round, "but during Zero Tolerance for Litter Month, we take additional measures to educate the public about the litter laws in South Carolina."

For more information on South Carolina's litter laws, visit palmettopride.org.

Around 21% of roadway litter in South Carolina comes from unsecured loads, according to Palmetto Pride.

"Please take an extra minute to ensure your loads are secure," Ford said. "It's not optional; it's the law."

While it may take a long time to change the behavior of littering, Cave believes Aiken County is taking appropriate steps to achieve a litter-free community and will eventually reach that point.

"That change will only happen with genuine support and active engagement from concerned citizens, schools, churches, businesses, government officials and law enforcement," Cave said. "Litter impacts all of us, so it will take all of us, collaboratively, working together to achieve a cleaner community."