Zero Tolerance for Litter Awareness Month Kicks Off

Columbia, SC – Today at the Statehouse, law enforcement officers from across the state gathered to kick off the 2013 Zero Tolerance for Litter Campaign. Zero Tolerance for Litter is a month-long law enforcement initiative that unites law enforcement in a dual-purpose mission: to educate citizens on the effects of litter in our communities and to enforce state and local litter laws.

James Nelson, Director of Spartanburg County Environmental Enforcement and President of SC Litter Control Association, and Linda Shadel, Director of PalmettoPride, addressed the group of Officers and the media. Special guest speakers at today’s event were Lexington County Sheriff James Metts, Columbia Police Captain Dave Navarro and State Transport Colonel Leroy Taylor.

Governor Nikki R. Haley also proclaimed April as Zero Tolerance for Litter Awareness Month.

In addition to kicking off Zero Tolerance for Litter, PalmettoPride recognized the 2012 Zero Tolerance Achievement Award winners: Columbia Police Department, Lexington County Sheriff’s Department and the SC State Transport Police. PalmettoPride awards the Zero Tolerance Achievement Awards to law enforcement agencies at the City, County and State levels for their efforts during the Zero Tolerance for Litter Campaign.

For more information on Zero Tolerance for Litter, please contact Gene Campbell, Program Manager at PalmettoPride, at ecambpell@palmettopride.org.

2013 Zero Tolerance for Litter Campaign

What is Zero Tolerance for Litter?

Zero Tolerance for Litter is a joint initiative of law enforcement agencies and PalmettoPride to heighten awareness of the litter laws in South Carolina.

What do we want our enforcement community to know about Zero Tolerance?

We want citizens, law enforcement agencies and our judicial system to take litter laws seriously. We want everyone to be aware of the dangers of litter and respect the codes and laws on all levels – from municipal to state.

What do we want people to know about litter?

First of all, it is unnecessary. Everyone can wait until they get home or to a gas station or other location where there is a proper container for trash. There is no need to throw anything on the ground. We want people to know that littering is against the law. Littering is thought of as being an eyesore on our roads, but it can also be a source of roadway accidents and fatalities. Litter is harmful to wildlife habitats and our water sources.

Who are our partners?

PalmettoPride, the Statewide Enforcement Committee and SC Litter Control Association coordinate the logistics of the event. Other key players are the Departments of Public Safety and Natural Resources, SC Forestry Commission, Keep America Beautiful affiliates, magistrates and government leaders. We all have to work together. We cannot stop litter alone. We have to have officers enforce the law; the magistrates uphold the tickets and our partners help educate people on the effects of litter.

What are the benefits of litter enforcement?

The benefits range from a cleaner appearance in South Carolina to tackling community safety and fostering economic development. Litter is considered a major factor in the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design and Broken Windows Theories of law enforcement. Litter, along with graffiti and vandalism, are signs of community deterioration and have a direct impact on higher crime rates.

What is the punishment for someone getting caught littering?

Enforcing the litter laws can also bring about some hefty fines and mandatory community service hours. Fines range from $470 to over $1,000.