Ensuring litter is picked up in the City of Aiken is now as easy as leaving a voice mail.

The City’s Public Services Department set up a “litter hotline” so residents can request the pickup of items they may be unable to take care of themselves.

The hotline was installed about six months ago, but Public Services Director Tim Coakley said he hopes the calls increase since, at the end of the day, litter affects more than just aesthetics.

“The cost of litter can affect us all,” Coakley said. “It affects tourism, and it has a trickle-down effect that can affect all the different departments and its citizens. We want to make sure we get it cleaned up.”

When individuals call the hotline, the call will be transferred to voice mail. Callers can leave a detailed message with the litter’s location. If possible, describe what the litter contains. The Public Services secretary checks the messages daily and sends the orders to a full-time employee in charge of litter cleanup.

“A few years ago, City Council funded a full-time employee with a van and six inmates and a trailer,” Coakley said. “They don’t do anything but pick up litter 40 hours a week. This hotline helps me know where to send them if people call in. It may not be the same day, but the secretary checks it daily and logs it in a work order system.”

Residents can call in just about anything sitting in a City of Aiken right-of-way, Coakley said.

“There’s always litter somewhere, and they (staff) will find something to pick up,” Coakley said. “Hopefully, everyone calls and lets us know what’s going on. It helps us to be more reactive.”

To call in litter, call the hotline at 803-502-4999.

Maayan Schechter is the local government reporter with Aiken Standard. Follow her on Twitter @MaayanSchechter.