BRIAN - Laurens County litter — We are better than this
Laurens County is trashy.
Yes, I said it. Don’t act offended. You know it’s true.
I hate that it is trashy. I take pride in where I live.
Unfortunately, others don’t.
Most every road and street is trashed.
WLBG 860AM Laurens had a Facebook post in February asking, “What is the most littered road or street in Laurens County?” They got 54 comments and later declared there was no clear winner. Every corner of the Laurens County was represented in the comments.
Litter and trash is a countywide problem. And it’s a state problem.
The Palmetto Pride organization looks to “instill pride in our state, one cleanup at a time.” In 20 years, Palmetto Pride has picked up 62,000,000 pounds of litter in South Carolina. They were instrumental in getting litter laws revised, launched a mobile app to report litterbugs and introduced new anti-litter curriculum in 2018.
If you litter in our state, you could be fined anywhere from $25 to $100 and face up to 30 days in jail. If you dump illegally, you could pay up to $1,000 and face up to a year in jail.
Still people litter. Palmetto Pride calls it “a cultural issue felt across the globe.”
I’m sure socioeconomics is factored into the reason for the litter and trash. I was always taught to take care of what you had, no matter how much or how little. I was taught to take pride in myself — “You put your pants on one leg at a time, like everyone else,” my father said.
You know how sad it is that we must have curriculum to teach our children not to live in filth.
God knows we’ve got people trying to change the culture. Laurens County Chamber of Commerce’s Beautify Laurens County efforts have picked up more than 115 tons of trash in the last eight years from our roadsides and holds quarterly cleanups (the latest was March 2).
Even with these efforts, it seems we are losing the battle.
Why? Do people like living in filth? Are they that lazy?
Maybe it is a convenience issue. Laurens County operates 10 “Green Box Sites.”
Here is where you can take your trash: Cross Hill (2204 Watts Bridge Road, Cross Hill), Fountain Inn (1171 Sullivan Road, Fountain Inn), Gray Court (684 Webb Rd., Gray Court), Greenpond (1005 Sweetbriar Road, Gray Court), Joanna (1474 Whitmire Hwy., Joanna), Laurens (430 Landfill Road, Laurens), Landford (1150 Rabbit Run Rd., Enoree), Lydia Mill (719 Charlotte’s Rd., Clinton), Ware Shoals (8641 Hwy. 252, Ware Shoals) and Waterloo (296 Riverfork Rd., Waterloo).
Hours of operation: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. All sites are closed on Wednesday.
So, if you don’t know where to dump your trash, now you do.
It can be argued that we don’t have enough Green Box Sites. I myself drive 6 or 8 miles to my two closest locations. Many people load up their pickups, don’t secure their loads and drive miles to a box site, while trash is flying out the back.
Laurens County covers 724 square miles and boasts a population of almost 67,000 people. I’d say we could probably use more collection sites.
Lack of convenience causes another problem. People pay services to collect their garbage in the county. These entrepreneurs load up their trucks — some have cages, others don’t and I’ve seen just one with a compactor — and take them to the dump. But on my road, they overload their trucks and a few times each year a bag of trash falls and explodes at my driveway.
Laurens County being an intersection for the upstate hurts on larger highways, as semi trash trucks move trash to landfills (without properly securing their loads). Adopt-A-Highway can only do so much.
When I first moved to Laurens County 14 years ago, I picked up my property’s frontage about once a month. But I quickly found that trash would return as quickly as it was removed and in greater volume.
A creek runs beside my driveway and crosses under the road at my mailbox. Up the driveway toward my house, the creek is as God intended, beautiful. Beside the mailbox, the creek looks like a cesspool.
Lovely image, as I pick up mail each day. Litter is a lovely image along the roadside, as I drive to work each day. And this lovely image has probably cost Laurens County businesses, industry and residents.
We are not animals. We are better than this. We need to clean up our act.
(Brian Whitmore is publisher of The Clinton Chronicle.)