It was encouraging to hear on the nightly news that the City of Myrtle Beach has come up with more than $300,000 to hire a small task force and supervisor to pick up litter. Unfortunately, this is like many other wasteful undertakings where the answer to a problem is to clean up after it instead of taking action to prevent or minimize it. One city official was happy to report that some areas are better than what they use to be. Let’s define better. If we picked up 5 tons of litter instead of 7 tons, mathematically there is an improvement, but the situation is still bad.
Is there anyone who hasn’t had to pick up someone else’s litter from their lawn, the road in front of their home or place where they work or play? I doubt it. What defines litter? According to Webster, a definition is “to scatter about in disorder.” To me, litter is the result of placing or discarding unwanted materials in a place that they don’t belong. This goes for the McDonald’s bags and boxes, beer bottles and cans, soft drink containers, cigarette butts and packages, etc. We also have a mentality that it is OK to toss our trash into the back of our pickup trucks. Obviously there must be some science that dictates that it will not blow away as we drive down the road, otherwise people who do it would be more sensitive to the consequences of such a careless act.
It’s admirable that we want to clean up the eye sores along the roads of our family destination resort area, but how about doing something that has positive possibilities of curtailing the mess? I would be surprised to know how many, if any tickets, short of mass dumping, have been issued to litter bugs. Pennies add up to dollars and cigarette butts add up to acceptable littering by law-abiding folks who think that their “butt” or “cig package” is not equal to a beer can. They are wrong because it is all part of what is “scattered about in disorder.” It would be easy to place the blame on our visitors, but everyone with sense, or caring, knows that we locals are the principal contributors because we are here year round and so is the litter. It doesn’t just show up after Memorial Day! For those who are contributors, do everyone a favor and take a second out of your hectic day to properly dispose of what you no longer want or need.
Everyone is tired of seeing your debris field and picking up after you!
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The writer lives in Myrtle Beach.