Spring cleaning begins on county roadways

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 14, 2000

Staff Writer

Some Pike County men are sweltering in the summer’s heat with one purpose in mind ­ cleaning up the county’s roadways.

Acting on complaints by citizens and ideas from the Pike County Commission, a countywide litter program has been established and the roadways are already looking better, that is until the next person tosses something out the car window.

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"People just don’t care anymore," said Alfred Alloway, who is overseeing the litter crew.

Each day the crew spends five hours ­ 6 a.m. until 11 a.m. ­ picking up the trash along the roadway.

Litter collected in about eight hours of work already came close to filling the trailer Tuesday morning.

Last week, the crew picked up litter along nine miles of Henderson Highway and, this week, they’re working on County Road 55.

Sam Green, enforcement officer for the Pike County Solid Waste Department, said the crew will spend a week in a different district.

"It’s going to take the county, as a whole to get it stopped," Green said of the litter problem.

For now, the solution is to pick it up, but county officials hope seeing the roadways cleaner will trigger citizens to keep it that way.

"What we need to stress, it litter is everybody’s problem," County Commission Chairman Larry Meeks said.

Commissioner Karen Berry is the one who has really pushed the county to act on the litter problem and has spent the past two years seeking out a way to do just that.

"The litter is horrible," Berry said. "I felt like we had to get a handle on it."

The county has looked at different options, including picking up trash as community service for criminals, but the liability issue eliminated that idea.

"We buckled down and came up with the money," Berry said of the commission finding the money to pay for employees to work part-time picking up the trash.

"I hope people will become more aware," Berry said, adding that’s the only solution she knows of that will take care of the problem.

Green has found a way to make that solution a more viable option ­ criminal prosecution.

According to the Criminal Code of Alabama, anyone who" knowingly deposits in any manner litter on any public or private property or in any public or private waters, having no permission to do so" can be charged with criminal littering and any of the litter, such as bank statements and utility bills bearing the individual’s name can be used in prosecution.

Litter is defined as "rubbish, refuse, waste material, garbage, dead animals or fowl, offal, paper, glass, cans. bottles, trash, scrap metal, debris or any foreign substance."

Criminal littering is a Class C misdemeanor. The penalty for a first conviction is $250 and the fine for a second or subsequent conviction is $500 for each conviction.