LETTER: Littering is not a little problem

May. 31, 2013 @ 04:58 AM

To the Editor:

We have a serious problem in Lee County; people have the disgusting habit of littering. Our county is probably the dirtiest in the state. I plan to write the governor because North Carolina is probably the dirtiest in the nation.

I’ve talked with people from other states, and they tell me they are taught at a young age that you don’t ever litter. I pick up two full, kitchen-size bags along our property every month. Sometimes there are names and addresses in the litter, and I am so tempted to carry all the bags of trash and dump it in their yards.

Maybe we should require that all teachers spend at least one hour at the beginning of the year getting this message across. It could be a writing assignment. These would be collected and sent to the central office for accountability. I’ll even volunteer to grade them.

Fees for littering have to be enforced. Do you know anyone who has ever gotten a ticket for throwing litter out the window? People who can’t pay the $1,000 would have to work it off by picking up litter along a designated road. In court, if you have a fine of $100 and you offer to pick up litter instead, the court cost is $200 because they have to pay someone to monitor the community service. This practice needs to be dropped. Community service means to work voluntarily instead of paying the $100 fine — not paying twice as much.

The sheriff needs to tell his officers to turn in one or more litterbugs per month. Their picture would be on the front page of The Herald and in the police blotter. Maybe the fees collected would keep our property taxes from going up.

You may laugh, but many towns have found that when the little laws are enforced, the criminals realize that you are tough so they never bother to commit bigger crimes. We also need to have video cameras installed down Horner Boulevard to catch them in the act. The worst offenders are the ones who throw out their cigarette butts. I’ve picked up thousands of them, and it’s not a little problem.

I encourage everyone to turn in license plate numbers of offenders to the newspaper and local police. Everyone must be vigilant and observant. We live on a beautiful planet. Let’s keep it that way.

Arlene Jackson