SC state leaders stress importance of not littering

SC state leaders stress importance of not littering

Originally published Apr 3, 2024 by Alex Tejada, ABC Columbia

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — You might think tossing trash on the side of the road is not a big deal but South Carolina littering laws could mean you end up with a fine or worse. 

Tuesday at the statehouse, Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette, along with Palmetto Pride and the South Carolina Litter Control Association, kicked off a zero tolerance for litter campaign for the month of April.

“Just don’t throw your trash where it doesn’t belong. That’s the easiest solution to most of life’s problems,” said Sarah Lyles, director of Palmetto Pride. “If it’s a big problem, don’t just throw it on the ground. Put it in a trash can or recycle it.”

Tuesday, state leaders kicked off a zero tolerance for litter campaign. Litter can pollute South Carolina’s soil and water as well as impact the environment in other ways.

“In South Carolina, we have flooding issues. When we have people litter and illegally dump, it fills in storm drains,” Lyles said. “We’re a southern state so we have waters flowing from other states. We have stormwater runoff that can clog storm drains and cause flooding. We see that in South Carolina.”

The Department of Public Safety also sees the harm that litter can cause on the roadways.

“It also can be a safety hazard,” said Col. Dean Dill. “Over 730 people get killed nationally a year because of objects in the roadway and 17,000 get injured.”

You might think that littering only trashes the community, but it can also land you in quite a bit of legal trouble depending on the offense.

“The worse the crime, the higher the fine and jail time,” Lyles said. “We also have mandatory community service. Officers and judges are allowed to give litter pickup for community service hours. We can assign roads and give them the supplies to do it and clean up.”

So if you throw trash, you might find yourself picking it back up, as well as paying a fine of anywhere from $25 to up to a $1,000

“Enforcement is always there to meet a goal.” Dill said. “It’s to keep people safe and gain compliance. That’s what we’re there for.”

If you are interested in helping clean up your community through a trash pickup, find out how to get involved or attend a specific event.