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Greenwood County catches litterbugs with new security cameras

Greenwood County is using a new method to stop littering
Published: Mar. 15, 2022 at 5:23 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - FOX Carolina is committed to you and what’s being done to keep our communities clean.

Greenwood County Public Works set up cameras to catch litterbugs. It’s a part of their litter prevention program: pick up and clean up of litter, education, and enforcement.

Public Works Director Robert Russian says it’s helping to solve their litter problem.

“We’re averaging about one prosecution a month off the images from those cameras,” Russian said.

They hope to expand to video. Russian says residents are dumping all types of waste at times and places they’re not supposed to.

“People are dumping mattresses on the side of the road, furniture, coaches, dressers,” said Russian.

There was a couch yards away from one of their cameras when FOX Carolina got to the scene.

“We’ve even prosecuted someone who was dumping material, saw our camera, stole our camera,” said Russian.

Russian says they were able to track and retrieve the camera a few hours later.

The community has noticed the problem as well. Greenwood resident Priscilla Nunn and her family like to help pick up litter with local groups, when they can.

“Litter is just everywhere—rampant, in Greenwood,” Nunn said.

Nunn says she joined her community, neighborhood, and church to pick up litter on a busy road, but their efforts never seem to last.

“Three weeks later and after we had picked up two, whole bags—it was two, huge 30-gallon trash bags full,” Nunn said, “There was more.”

Some residents tell us there are not enough places to dump the trash. Russian begs to differ. He says they have nine convenience centers. However, some close Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

“Bring take that trash out to our landfill facility. There are hours during all seven days a week where they can dump their trash,” Russian said, “They don’t need to dump it on the side of the road. There’s always a convenience center open for their trash.”

For the most part, Russian says the community’s response has been positive. They’ve been collaborating with local neighborhood watches. Nunn hopes it makes a difference.

“I like the idea. It’s not entirely for me to say. I think people should be held accountable for being lazy or careless,” Nunn continues, “Even if it’s your first time and you get caught, maybe they’ll teach you not to do it again. Maybe, if it’s your 100th time, and, finally, you get caught—people just shouldn’t be littering.”

Russian says litterbugs can face a $250 fine and community service time, on average. The budget for the litter prevention program comes from the county and the city.