Anyone can be a litter buster and help PalmettoPride, South Carolina’s collaborative effort to reduce trash on the roads and beautify the landscape statewide.
Besides highway billboards across the state with such messages as “Our state isn’t an ashtray. Litter trashes everyone. Report a litterbug,” locally, on the drive to the gate in Myrtle Beach State Park, visitors will see a sign about the “Litter Busters Hotline,” which encourages everyone to call 877-7-LITTER (754-8837), or visit palmettopride.org, to share details after seeing any trash tossed from a vehicle with S.C. license plates.
Through assistance for Columbia-based PalmettoPride from the S.C. Department of Natural Resources and S.C. Department of Public Safety, owners of a car or truck stated in a litter report are later mailed a letter reminding them that littering is unlawful and that if witnessed by a police officer or state trooper, the offense could lead to a fine or jail time. State law shows that upon an offender’s conviction, the minimum penalty is $200, plus court costs.
Citizens who file a report online will receive a thank-you email for “helping to move us closer toward a cleaner, greener South Carolina.”
Sarah Lyles, Palmetto Pride spokeswoman and director of Keep South Carolina Beautiful, elaborated on the mutilple-tier approach to reduce litter, through four ways: education of youth, teaming up with law enforcement, awareness that also shows possible economic development benefits, and with coordinated volunteer help, pickup of litter through clean sweeps.
Bunching them all together, with all our other ... projects, it kind of indicates that everything we’re doing is having a positive effect across the state.
We just want people to understand that litter isn’t necessary, and it’s just damaging to our environment, the community, to community safety, wildlife and water. Litter reaches into many areas; it’s not just unsightly.
We’re getting into schools. There’s always something going on. ...
There’s also Keep Georgetown Beautiful ... in the city, they do a lot of work with parks and are heavily involved with the Riverwalk right there. Also, Murrells Inlet 2020, which is super active; we have been working with them for years.
When those go out, we have people call in, and they say “Thank you so much ... I didn’t know ... ” The letters go to the owner of the car. ... Some people do get very scared, thinking it’s a ticket. ...
Unfortunately with litter prevention, it’s a never-ending job.