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Surely more could be done to reduce litter

Mar. 02, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

It's that time of year when the amount of trash and litter along our area streets and highways has nowhere to hide.

Most every intersection where there is a stop sign or turn lane is strewn with cigarette butts. I read recently it takes 18 months to 10 years for a cigarette butt to decompose.

I was wondering if some of our area officials could advise me as to who can enforce the litter laws in our Tri-State area. Is it the city or state police, county sheriff's office or maybe the Department of Natural Resources?

The signs I see along the highway indicate a fine of $500 for littering. This leads me to my next question.

When was the last time one of the enforcement groups actually cited anyone for littering in our city or area highways?

Governmental officials are constantly looking for revenue sources and wanting to enact new laws.

Why not enforce the laws we have? What better way to clean up the Tri-State area and generate some much needed revenue than to start writing tickets for littering!

I bet it wouldn't take long before we noticed a significant improvement. My Grandma used to say: "Just because we're poor, doesn't mean we have to be trashy!"

The city of Huntington manages a large municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4), a program that oversees the discharge of storm water and urban runoff to area creeks and rivers. Under the MS4 program, the city must reduce the discharge of pollutants to the maximum extent practicable through a combination of pollution prevention, source and treatment control.

What a simple approach to meeting these goals and generate much needed revenue than enforcing our current litter laws, and then using these funds to further the program.

Couple of other questions/ideas:

1. Could judicial officials assign violators time (3-4 days?) picking up trash along our streets/roads as part of an area Adopt A Highway program or possibly a litter chain gang?

2. Area businesses should also get involved in the process. Drive-throughs should serve their products in biodegradable and/or compostable bags, cups and wrappers.

Charge a nominal fee to offset the cost of these products, for those that utilize the drive-through option. Possibly enact a local ordinance requiring such?

3. Refuse and construction companies need to have their loads covered to prevent contents from blowing out of their vehicles.

It should be part of their standard operating procedures and it makes good business cents (pun intended).

Conduct refresher training with your employees to reinforce use and spend a few bucks to replace/update your equipment covers.

Let's take some pride and responsibility in our neighborhoods and community. The Tri-State area doesn't need to be the world's astray.

I'll await your reply.

Paul Myers is a resident of Chesapeake, Ohio.

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