County discusses ways to address abundance of roadside trash

Published 7:09 pm Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Decatur County Board of Commissioners discussed the growing litter problem in the county at their meeting Tuesday.

After receiving complaints about the amount of roadside litter along Hwy. 97 South going from the edge of the City of Bainbridge to Faceville, Commissioner Russell Smith arranged for a work crew to clean the highway.

They picked up 1,660 pounds of trash.

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“I know for years this has been a problem since I’ve been on the board,” Smith said. “It’s sad the litter exists on all the arteries coming into Decatur County.”

Everything from fast food trash and Styrofoam cups to old couches and tires can be found dumped on the sides of many of the roads in Decatur County.

Decatur County Chairman Dennis Brinson agreed there was a problem, mentioning the litter wasn’t just in the unincorporated parts of the county but also within the cities’ limits as well.

Smith proposed the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office designated a detail crew specifically for the task of litter cleanup.

“I certainly think we need to identify a group of inmates—litter control—that works one road from 84 East or 84 West or 97 North or 92 South,” Smith said. “I don’t think any litter tickets have been written, and I’m thinking if we ask the sheriff to tell the deputies to write tickets. Once a few tickets are written, I’m betting the litter would slow down.”

Smith also said it was a sure distraction for industry potentially moving into Decatur County.

Commissioner Pete Stephens said the issue not only falls on irresponsible residents throwing trash on the sides of the road, but also an internal one. Stephens said a Decatur County work crew trimmed bushes on a road in his district where trimmings, wood chips and other trash were left and ignored once the work was done.

“There were three different spots on this road that had a lot of litter thrown out,” Stephens said. “Our garbage crew walked right by this. On the same road, the chips they had chipped could have been put in a trashcan. Poor, poor work. This is also an internal problem of getting the county employees to do what they are supposed to do. This trash is still lying there.”

The Board of Commissioners plans to continue to develop ways to reduce the litter in Decatur County.