By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer
(Walhalla, SC)——————On a sunny and warm late winter day in the Golden Corner, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office has begun its Spring Litter Pickup Campaign.
Inmates from the Oconee County Detention Center, under the supervision of the Sheriff’s Office Environmental Services Officer, Corporal Tim Rice, picked up trash along portions of Highway 11 south between Mountain Road and Highway 123 as well as near Camp Road outside of Walhalla near the Five Forks community on Tuesday.
“We bring these inmates out and let them collect the trash and debris along the highway throughout the county,” says Corporal Rice. “We will be out a few times a week throughout the spring, summer and fall months.”
Corporal Rice pointed out that the areas where the inmate detail was today were areas that the Sheriff’s Office has received the most complaints about and that they would be making their way to other areas in which there are litter problems in the days and weeks to come.
During Tuesday’s pickup, Rice estimates that along Highway 11 that inmates collected around 20 to 25 bags of trash as of around 2:15pm. The area near Camp Road was littered, according to Rice, with old televisions, mattresses and carpeting. According to Rice, a truck from Solid Waste was needed to remove all the items that were picked up that had accumulated in that portion of the Five Forks area.
“It seems in the spring months that people start to get out and do more activities and the highways seems to have more litter and we get more complaints” continues Corporal Rice. “Also in the kickoff to spring, there is The Great American Cleanup through Keep America Beautiful along with Palmetto Pride’s ‘Zero Tolerance For Litter’ campaign next month so to coincide with those events we get out and try to get our highways and roads as clean as possible ahead of those events so we can see from year to year what progress is being made.”
Corporal Rice also points out that fines and penalties for littering in Oconee County are up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,092.50 if convicted. Also, motorists need to use caution when traveling around in areas where litter pickup is going and to be aware of officers and trustees who will be working to pick up litter.
“South Carolina state law says that if you see an emergency vehicle on the side of the highway with its emergency lights on, if possible, you are required to move over if you are traveling on a four lane highway or if not, you are required to slow down,” says Rice. “Working on the side of the highway can be very dangerous place to be and we ask that motorists keep us in mind while they are traveling.”