The South Carolina Litter Control Association kicked off the annual Zero Tolerance for Litter campaign today at the State House. Joined by Representative Gilda Cobb-Hunter, officers from state and local law enforcement agencies, Keep America Beautiful representatives and Waste Management companies, the Litter Control Association laid out the mission of Zero Tolerance and issued a challenge to officers across the state.
Zero Tolerance for Litter is a month-long campaign with a dual-purpose: to enforce litter laws and the educate people not to litter. The campaign is an annual event, although the Litter Control Association (SCLCA) hopes that this will be the year that all law enforcement adopt a zero tolerance for litter mentality every day.
According to Jamie Nelson, Director of Spartanburg County Environmental Enforcement Agency and past president of SCLCA, enforcing litter laws at its core is not about making things pretty, it is about ensuring order and safety to our communities.
Nelson issued a challenge to all law enforcement agencies to participate in a one mile litter pickup event. The point of this challenge is to get officers personally involved in litter issues in hopes that it will make them more proactive with enforcing litter laws. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZjAsp4B_OY.
Representative Cobb-Hunter spoke on efforts of law makers to make litter elimination a priority, the Take Palmetto Pride Where you Live Act, and working together for a common goal. Representative Cobb-Hunter emphasized that law makers and law enforcements agencies need to “get behind the same goal, which is to reduce litter.”
In addition to Representative Cobb-Hunter and Jamie Nelson, speakers included Steve Ward, President of the SCLCA; Jacq Buck, Executive Director of Keep the Midlands Beautiful; and Mindy Miller, Public Sector Manager South Atlantic Area for Waste Management.
According to Jacq Buck, when litter is removed from communities, it instills community pride and cuts down on crime.
Governor Nikki R. Haley issued a proclamation that April 2016 is Zero Tolerance for Litter Month.
In a 2008 focus group conducted by PalmettoPride, enforcing litter laws was the most common answer to the question “how do we get people to change their litter behaviors?”. In 2016, enforcement of the state and local litter laws by law enforcement agencies remains a challenge. Litter control and code officers are largely responsible for all enforcement of litter laws. Department of Natural Resources and SC Department of Public Safety also write tickets for littering.