Florence County cracks down on litter through use of cameras

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – Back in March, News13 first told you how Florence County stepped up its efforts to crack down on people who litter throughout the county.

This time we got an up close look at how environmental service officers now use trash operation stings to bust people that litter.

For the past year, Florence County Environmental Services has worked to control the county’s growing litter problem by placing officers, three or four at time, in discrete designated hotspots throughout the entire county with cameras.

“We’ve even beefed it up more in the past month or 6 weeks.  We are working every Friday and some Saturday’s,” said Herbie Christmas with Environmental Services.

Often over the course of a week officers collect thousands of pounds of trash.

They work with both the sheriff’s office and SC DNR ready for anybody who decides to chuck their trash out of their car window.

“We contact one of our chase vehicles and initiate a stop.  Unfortunately we are finding a lot of other traffic violations in addition to the litter violations.  Driving with suspensions, driving without insurance, open container,” explained Christmas.

“The camera might be set-up on this behind the tree, but we be sitting there looking down that side of the tree,” added Officer Terry Singletary, as he set up for a sting.

Recently, the county raised the amount you pay for violations.  Between the actual violation and court fees, a litter violation can cost over $500.  If the trash is over 15 lbs. then it could cost more than $1,000.

With the help of the cameras officers have had a 100 percent conviction rate when it comes to violations.

“[The most satisfying part is] just trying to stop people from dirtying up the county,” said Singletary.

The county decided to add another full-time litter control officer, along with working with Palmer’s Prelease Program to start a 5 day a week litter pick-up program.

Environmental services also plans to team up with Palmetto Pride for a Litter Blitz during the fall.

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