TRASH TALK: Resolve to report litterbugs in the new year
Using the concept that “awareness generates actions,” the Aiken County Litter Task Force has attempted to draw attention to, and inform readers of, the far-reaching negative impacts of litter. The periodic newspaper articles have covered a wide variety of litter topics, such as litter laws and enforcement programs, effects on wildlife, costs to property values and health. Members of the Task Force participated at Earth Day to share information with attendees. Members have spoken at local organizations and have appeared on TV broadcasts. A logo was designed to be used on materials at future events and on literature that recognizes our goal of “Making Aiken County Litter Free.”
The task force has also been active in researching a myriad of ideas and possibilities to utilize in addressing litter across the county. In addition to obtaining information from successful programs in other communities, much time has been devoted to the application to become affiliated with Keep America Beautiful. This is an involved process, but in the long run will provide many benefits to our county.
The task force is not alone in addressing litter. The City of Aiken provides tips in the monthly newsletter that comes with the water bill. Various groups and organizations highlight litter in their environmental or conservation programs. Palmetto Pride works constantly to educate citizens about not littering. And volunteers across the county pitch in with Adopt-a-Highway programs.
The chief purpose of today’s article is to strongly encourage readers to report litterbugs. This important action alone can result in locating litter “hot spots”; provide data for future funding and manpower needs; and assist personnel to find tossed litter so it can be speedily cleaned up before becoming a bigger problem. In some cases, enough information may be obtained to lead to citations and fines. Therefore, it is very important to report, and report often. It is free and anonymous; also relatively fast and easy. The caller will be guided to provide information such as date, time, location and description of litter. Details about the littering vehicle may also be requested.
To report litter in the county, call county dispatch at 803-502-9000 x. 3704. If littering is seen in City of Aiken’s limits, call the nonemergency number at 803-642-7620. For litter that has already been dumped in the city, the number is 803-502-4999. The Palmetto Pride Litter Hotline can be reached at 877-754-8837. These numbers can be printed and kept handy in car or on a fridge or in a cellphone.
Here is a more recent number to add to the list. The August 2018 Aiken Report detailed information about Property Code Enforcement in the city. This code provides standards for owners to maintain their properties by keeping grass cut, litter controlled and grounds free of accumulation of junk, debris, trash and inoperable/abandoned vehicles. If there is a site not observing these standards, call the Property Code Inspector at 803-293-2034. The city wants to help keep neighborhoods attractive, safe and healthy. And of course, remember, safety comes first, so make a call when not driving; and refrain from addressing litterbugs in person.
As we begin to look at a new year, perhaps reporting litterbugs might be a good resolution; if not weekly, then at least once a month.