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Pickens Co. announces new program to address litter problem

Published: Apr. 20, 2022 at 6:12 PM EDT
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PICKENS CO., S.C. (FOX Carolina) - An Upstate county is calling on the community for help when it comes to litter.

Pickens County officials say 80 percent of littering is done intentionally, and the problem has become particularly painful.

“A lot of it is people just not caring really,” said Pickens County Litter Enforcement Officer Jordan Lee.

It’s an issue hiding in plain sight.

“Litter is a very big problem in our county,” explained Lee.

It’s been that way for years, and Pickens County wants to put an end to it.

“It’s us county employees and a few volunteers, but it’s going to take the whole county to clean up this issue,” said Lee.

That’s why Pickens County is launching what they call “Pickens Proud”.

The new program will include increased enforcement, a way for community members to report where there is litter, changes in the solid waste program, and more.

“We’re looking at all sides of the problem. We’re looking at behavioral sides, we’re looking at educational sides, we’re looking into enforcement sides,” said Pickens County Administrator Ken Roper.

This is a problem that goes beyond just the issue of seeing trash pile up.

“Runoff into water that contaminates our drinking water, and then also just when there’s piles of litter that contributes to disease or rodent infestation,” explained Brooke Van-Derpoel with Keep Pickens County Beautiful.

County leaders say they are sure this latest approach will help curb the problem.

“We have to make this better. So that leads me to be confident,” said Roper.

21 percent of litter along roadways in the county comes from uncovered loads. County officials say they give away free tarps to people in the county to help with that part of the problem.