Lancaster County officials urge citizens to get tough on litterbugs

by Jackie Nunnery

LANCASTER—Litter remains a “bugging” topic in Lancaster County.

At the May 30 Lancaster board of supervisors meeting, both concerned citizens and a member of the board spoke of the need for continued vigilance and increased enforcement in addressing the county’s persistent littering issue.

County resident Judy Ripley updated the board on the continued clean-up efforts, which she stressed were not the solution, emphasizing the focus should be on “stopping it from happening in the first place.”

To ensure that residents and visitors are well aware of the littering law, signs were placed at three roadway entrances to the county, along with 10 other spots deemed as “trouble areas” for littering.

Ripley also shared the results of a meeting she attended the previous week with Judge John Martin, Sheriff Patrick McCranie and supervisor Bill Lee in which they discussed measures to deter littering through enforcement of the existing law.

During those discussions, according to Ripley, Sheriff McCranie indicated that when concerned citizens call the sheriff’s office with “identifying evidence in the litter (mail with an address), the sheriff’s office will make a call and let them know they have broken the law.” Judge Martin added that in addition to a $500 fine, “litterers will be assigned litter pick-up that, if not completed, would result in jail time” of 30 days.

The county also is looking to technology to catch litterers in the act. Lee has been investigating the use of a camera system like that being used in Tazewell County.

Installing cameras in strategic locations could provide valuable evidence in prosecuting litterers and hopefully be a deterrent to committing the crime in the first place, he said. Lee is continuing to work on a final plan and cost for the project.

Meanwhile, anyone witnessing littering is urged to photograph the act in process or get a license plate number before calling the sheriff’s office, 462-5111.