Trash State!

I have but to look around just the city of Columbia, South Carolina to see how bad it is here.  However, I’ve been to various parts of the state either via bicycle or other transportation.  By far of all the states I’ve been in this is about the most trashed state there is.  This isn’t to say that this is the only state with a trash problem.

It was found out by me through a local free newspaper that South Carolina not only generates it’s own unique amount of trash but also takes in trash from no less than five other states.  Yes you heard it right.  Five other states actually ship their trash to this state.  This doesn’t even consider nuclear waste which is dealt with in this state as well.  Yes this state is thoroughly TRASHED!

However, this isn’t the trash I really like to complain about.  As a bicyclist I daily have to avoid road trash.  It’s not just glass from broken beer bottles (drunking drivers) but also accident trash.  This state doesn’t clean up after an automobile accident occurs.  In most cases, the trash on the road after a car accident is swept up into the gutter to wait for decomposition and into the sewer system along with any other refuse in the road.

In the state of California, it is law that the wrecker company has to clean up all road debris before the accident site is declared cleared.  If the state of South Carolina were to institute a similar law we would have cleanear roadways by a large margin.  Yes it’s a hassle for those involved.  However, the one that profits most on the automobile that is wrecked is the tow/wrecker company.  Only one case where I see that the tow/wrecker companies should not have to clean up all debris from a wreck and it goes to follow in California as well.

In the case of gasoline, battery, or radiator leakage the tow/wrecker companies in California are not authorized nor equipped to handle such scenes.  This is the only instance where they are NOT required to clean up any road debris other than the vehicle itself for obvious reasons.  In accidents like these a hazardous materials team is called in to diffuse the hazardous materials.

Will a law like this ever get passed in this state?  Very doubtful.  It’s like enforcing the current laws on the books about littering and drunk driving.  Either their isn’t a cop around to enforce it or they just don’t enforce it cause it is too much paperwork for the officer and they don’t want to be bothered with it.

Another law that would cut down on the trash that is instituted in other states is a bottle/can deposit law.  Michigan is one example of this working well.  Prior to this state instituting a bottle/can deposit law they had a very bad issue with roadside little (mostly bottles and cans).  After the institution of this law, roadside trash was down almost 50%.  Other than crash refuse alongside roads, cans and bottle  debris is the second largest issue in this state.  I’ve even had people throw beer bottles at me while on tour 😦  Alcoholism seems to be a big issue in this state as most of the roadside bottle/can refuse is alcoholic in relation.  Again, will a law like this ever pass the state assembly?  Doubtful!

Last but not least, enforcement against habitual litterbugs.  Here’s how I’d handle the situation.  First offense, $1000 fine no lessening of the fine.  Habitual litterers (more than one offense) required supervised community service (trash pickup required) for 30 days.  If a third offense for littering occur, then the sentence should be no less than 90 days in jail, $1000, fine, and one year of supervised community service (again trash pickup).  Surely this sounds stiff.  However, if the police were to soundly enforce the current law or the judges were to implement the sentences I’ve so stated here people would think twice about tossing that can, bottle, or bag out the window of their automobiles.  The deposit law alone would stop the bottles and cans for the most part.  However, these penalties as I’ve stated would make others think about things before tossing other refuse out car windows.


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