Litter, litter everywhere!

By Terasa M. Lott
Water Resources Agent
Clemson Extension

I may be a little “greener” than most people but I just don’t understand why people litter. Not a day goes by that I don’t see trash in inappropriate places.

My Sunday routine involves sipping coffee and reading the paper with my husband at our favorite coffee house. While their beverages are delicious, their curb appeal is substantially lacking with the major offender being cigarette butts. Cigarette filters are not biodegradable (and even if they were, the curb of a parking lot is not an appropriate place to put them).
Pet waste is another problem. On a recent stroll through Williamson Park, we came upon a used plastic bag from one of the pet waste stations. I guess I’m glad I didn’t step in it but if you’re going to make the effort to use a bag, why not put the bag in a trashcan?

I generally visit the bank twice a week to make deposits for my office and even there I observe litter. Receipts must jump out of people’s hands because there is always at least one laying on the ground near the front door. In case you didn’t know, there is a “no receipt” option at the ATM so if you don’t want/need your receipt, don’t print one.

A few pieces here and a few pieces there add up to tons of litter every year. It’s ugly no matter where it is but can cause much larger problems such as harming wildlife and clogging pipes. We hear about sea life ingesting plastic but the effects can also be seen locally. It wasn’t too long ago that a Barred Owl was found tangled in fishing line at Lynches River County Park. The Park staff was able to free to the bird and take it to a wildlife rehabilitation center but tales like this don’t always have happy endings.

Feeling down and out about the situation? Here’s your chance to make a positive impact. Get involved in this year’s Beach Sweep/River Sweep – the largest one-day cleanup of South Carolina’s beaches and waterways. The Florence Darlington Stormwater Consortium and Keep Florence Beautiful are teaming up to clean a popular portion of the Florence Trail System that meanders through the Jeffries Creek Watershed. Those interested in volunteering should meet at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 19 in the parking lot of Naturally Outdoors on West Palmetto Street.

More information about inland cleanup locations can be found on the SC Department of Natural Resource website, while more information about coastal locations can be found on the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium website

Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to people of all ages, regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital or family status and is an equal opportunity employer.

Author: Jana Pye

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