On Jan. 10 and 14 a group of volunteers from the Exeter and Cedar Creek communities completed a litter clean up on parts of Banks Mill, Eagle and Citadel roads. A total 7.5 miles of roadways received litter pick-up over these two days. These neighbors, who want to help Aiken be the best it can be, collected 68 bags of litter. Included in these 68 bags are at least 773 beer cans/bottles and 65 large bottles of vodka, tequila or wine.
To get this much litter, no one must have done any litter removal in a long time, right? Wrong. This amount of litter “grew” on our roads over a nine-week period. This is a disgusting statistic.
Having prisoners pick up litter will help Aiken look better for a short time, but it does not address the problem. Ten states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon and Vermont) currently have deposit laws for cans and bottles, and if you travel to these states you will not see as much litter on their roads. There is a financial incentive to those who purchase liquids in cans and bottles to return these items to the stores and have their deposit refunded. There is also a financial incentive to anyone who sees a bottle or can on the roadway – they will get the deposit and help clean the area. South Carolina needs a strong can/bottle deposit law, and needs it now.
To prevent littering, the issue must be discussed in our schools. Littering is a cultural and societal issue. It must become socially and culturally unacceptable to litter, and that thinking must start at an early age, in elementary schools.