Take in the trash

Stricter litter enforcement, penalties could benefit city immensely

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Augusta’s “Garden City” nickname dates to the 1920s, when the neatly manicured yards in the city’s Hill neighborhood began receiving widespread notice. Garden clubs would raise funds by offering tours of the private gardens.

Decades later, local residents find themselves reconciling the two Augustas – the city with tidy landscaping, and the city with too much litter. For every spotless yard, there’s also some well-traveled intersection that accumulates cigarette butts and discarded soda bottles.

The city’s Harrisburg neighborhood is no different.

For a long time, that community’s two biggest problems have been crime and litter. Thanks to more police patrols, crime is down. Now some of Harrisburg’s most vocal advocates want stronger teeth in the city’s litter laws. They petitioned the Augusta Commission recently, asking to raise the fines on littering offenses and possibly institute jail sentences.

That’s perfectly fine with us. And while you’re at it, fashion stronger litter ordinances for the entire state of Georgia. The law should get tougher and stay tougher on the scofflaws who care so little about where they live that they would prefer living in a trash heap than expending even minimal effort to keep Augusta clean. Nationally, according to the environmental group Keep America Beautiful, litter cleanup costs this country more than $11 billion a year – and that’s likely a lowball estimate.

We know why it happens. We live in a disposable nation, first of all. Americans want what they want, and they want it now. And they want it in packaging they’d like to just throw away and forget about. A lot of people buying fast food on Walton Way end up ditching their used wrappers on the streets of Harrisburg.

Also, there are more vehicles than ever on the road. More cars mean more potential car windows to throw trash out of. Keep America Beautiful estimates that more than half of all litterers are thoughtless motorists.

A rise in poverty? A drop in public civility? Those are factors in producing junkier neighborhoods, too. There are too many folks who don’t feel a sense of pride or ownership toward where they live.

It’s always easier to find the litter instead of the litterers, though. The Richmond County Marshal’s Office issued, by one estimate, about 500 littering citations last year. But they have to catch the offenders in the act.

There is no quick fix. Perhaps place a few more trash cans in the most troubled areas. Post signs encouraging people to clean up – and listing the stiff fines and jail sentences you can face if you make the lazy, immature choice to litter.

But the speediest solution that can be managed right now is just what Harrisburg residents are asking for – tougher littering enforcement and tougher penalties for offenders.

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specsta
6505
Points
specsta 11/27/13 - 03:11 am
10
9
Jail For Littering? Ridiculous!

From the editorial - "They petitioned the Augusta Commission recently, asking to raise the fines on littering offenses and possibly institute jail sentences.
That’s perfectly fine with us."

Jail sentences for littering? Just the fact that such a ridiculous solution were offered is indicative of the "lock-em up" mentality that has practically decimated this nation.

There is a whole class of citizens, two million of them, who languish in jails and prisons - forgotten and ignored. Behind those cells are human beings - the majority of whom are in there for non-violent offenses. The prisons-for-profit scam perpetrated on the American people by greedy politicians is a human-rights stain on this society.

The concept of harsh sentences for minor offenses is a calculated plan to destroy Constitutional protections and freedoms guaranteed to every American. It is a tenet of the police-state mentality that is choking our streets, transforming our lives into a George Orwell "1984" existence.

And nobody notices. Or cares. Have Americans become so dumbed-down that they don't see what is happening?

The result is asinine proposals that would incarcerate people for chucking their Burger King wrapper out the window.

I personally hate littering. I cringe when I see a motorist flick their cigarette butt out of a car window, or when I pull into a parking lot and some selfish person has left an empty beer bottle in a parking space. But behavior like that just shows selfishness, not criminality.

Jail and prison should ONLY be for violent people. To allow the ignorance of legislators who pass insane laws that impose harsh sentences for non-violent offenses to dictate public policy is madness. It just illustrates the failure of our society to use wisdom and compassion for non-violent offenders.

We are spiraling into Nazi Germany and don't even realize it.

habersham100
177
Points
habersham100 11/27/13 - 03:28 am
7
4
Thoughts on Litter

We get our water meter read every month, so couldn't the meter reader(s) note a trashy yard, and these folks get a $5.00 a month surcharge per month on their water bill until they clean up?

The Commission would have to approve that, I suppose... Well, it was just a thought...

Riverman1
83732
Points
Riverman1 11/27/13 - 05:47 am
11
1
Practical Suggestions Appreciated

Specsta made me think with his comment. He's got some good points. If we simply do the knee jerk reaction of "Book um, Dano" to littering are we actually doing anything? This editorial is at least making us think about the problem even if the deep tendon reflex at the knee is a plus 2 when tapped with the rubber hammer. Habersham made a great practical suggestion. My idea, put a dumpster in Harrisburg where the tree used to be. Put a sign on it, "Keep our community clean."

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 11/27/13 - 07:51 am
11
2
$5.00 dollar surcharge,

$5.00 dollar surcharge, dumpster in Harrisburg, Signs and so forth. Hey, I've got an idea as well. Maybe we should try telling people they should NOT do drugs; maybe even put commercials on TV that tell people drugs will fry their brains. Oooh wait!!

Ok, $5.00 surcharge? On who, you? Because it's probably YOU and I who are paying their salaries, with our taxes.

Dumpster? I've worked neighborhoods such as these and MANY others. We are talking about irresponsible, lazy people who couldn't give a flip less about how their community looks. They wouldn't walk 5 feet to throw a piece of trash in a dumpster, because that would take effort; so why not just drop it where they stand.

Signs? There are already signs around that tell people littering is illegal. The type people who just throw their trash down are the same type people who don't give a flip about signs!!

The only thing I can think of, and it still wouldn't stop them MOST of the time; is to give them LONG community service hours when caught littering. I'm talking 200 plus hours for first offense and 500+ for every offense afterward. During those hours, put them into these neighborhoods, picking up others trash. Maybe then they will see just how nasty littering is. But, as with our society; as soon as they say their back hurts, we can't make them work anymore, for fear of being sued.

But this won't stop them either; any more than DUI laws stop EVERYONE from drinking and driving. Because they will still throw that trash out, thinking they won't get caught; just like the drunk leaving the bar.

seenitB4
86994
Points
seenitB4 11/27/13 - 08:16 am
10
2
Long community service

I would vote for that....make them clean the streets of litter...& then again, some need a buggy whipping!

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 11/27/13 - 09:20 am
8
0
Somewhere, Dep. Barney Fife

Somewhere, Dep. Barney Fife is smiling down on Augusta.

nocnoc
42470
Points
nocnoc 11/27/13 - 09:41 am
12
1
Old School Suggestion

Suggestion

Bring back Deposits on all bottled and canned beverages.

If its tossed out there would always be kids looking for them
to cash them in for $$$.

Fiat_Lux
15415
Points
Fiat_Lux 11/27/13 - 09:59 am
10
1
MyFather15's got it right

and so does Specsta, generally. Making litterbugs pick up litter is the only appropriate and reasonable punishment.

Keep in mind that school age kids are likely to be the main litterbugs in that area, even with all the adult lowlife living there. Eight to 12 Saturdays spent cleaning up Harrisburg under the tutelage of a good mentor might be exactly the kind of intervention some of these kids would find life-changing.

Bizkit
31306
Points
Bizkit 11/27/13 - 10:11 am
10
1
Don't think littering is just

Don't think littering is just paper trash, glass, or metal. Even a peanut hull or a banana peel would have you do time-it's still considered trash. Putting people in jail is just a tax burden, why not have offenders pick it up. Saves us time and money, and perhaps they learn a lesson. AH I see too late-just shows you how "obvious" a better solution would be.

Bizkit
31306
Points
Bizkit 11/27/13 - 10:25 am
4
1
I like the title of this

I like the title of this article-Take in the trash. It is the Holiday season and I encourage everyone to take in what many consider as "trash"-the homeless or poor. They aren't trash (fact could be one of us) but they do need some assistance from real caring people and not some cold govt entity. One of the best ways to help some mental illness is socialization. Don't throw the "trash" out-take it in. You don't have to be religious to do this-just caring.

Jon Lester
2297
Points
Jon Lester 11/27/13 - 10:27 am
7
0
Nocnoc is right.

Whatever else you may think about northern states, the deposit system works well for them.

dichotomy
32858
Points
dichotomy 11/27/13 - 10:29 am
8
3
"Jail and prison should ONLY

"Jail and prison should ONLY be for violent people."

Nope.....jail and prison are perfectly appropriate for thieves, shoplifters, robbers, and burglars. The problem is that we don't lock ALL of them up and FOR A LONG ENOUGH TIME. We have more people in jail because WE HAVE MORE SCUMBAG CRIMINALS.

Gary Ross
3346
Points
Gary Ross 11/27/13 - 10:43 am
6
1
Another suggestion

Video surveilance cameras are inexpencive. If most people had one in their cars, a lot more than litterers would be caught on camera! Tailgaters, speed demons, pedestrians j-walking, etc. The only problem there would be law enforcement accepting the evidence and doing something about it. I have been told many times that law enforcement has to catch them in the act themselves. They don't trust us decent citizens.

Bizkit
31306
Points
Bizkit 11/27/13 - 10:45 am
5
2
Well I hate the death penalty

Well I hate the death penalty but it would be useful for a "eugenics" approach. All violent repeat offenders should be executed to eliminate their genetically heritable traits from being passed on. No prisons. All other crimes will have programs that offenders pay back to society (no more tax burden with prison), and learning to be productive citizens. Now they are drain on productive citizens killing tax payers and increasing our taxes. Prisons just make better criminals with a new subculture and society. Now if the programs don't work form some-execute them too. Sounds draconian, but it would work.

griff6035
3987
Points
griff6035 11/27/13 - 11:49 am
8
1
Trash

Some of it comes from the trucks picking up the trash, trail one for awhile and observe.

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 11/27/13 - 12:28 pm
0
0
Bobby Jones off ramp at Windsor Spring. Butt dump heaven.
Unpublished

This is where the "southies" go to clean out their vehicles.

Bulldog
1324
Points
Bulldog 11/27/13 - 01:41 pm
4
1
crack down on litter and save

By cracking down on litter and graffiti, we prevent that crime which is encouraged by this and other incivilities. A few weekends of picking up trash will greatly encourage people to cease and desist their littering ways. A win - win situation for everyone. Litter is picked up and as a result of the deterrent effect of the public service sentencing, less litter is spread.

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 11/27/13 - 02:42 pm
5
2
I got a nasty little email

I got a nasty little email message from a certain user on here, who thought I was saying that ALL the people in these neighborhoods are irresponsible and lazy.

Just to clarify, in my third paragraph; where I talked about working these neighborhoods. I was NOT saying everyone in these neighborhoods are irresponsible and lazy. I was specifically talking about those that LITTER their own neighborhoods. Take a drive through them sometime; some of these people's own personal yards are full of beer bottles and fast food bags. They won't even take the time to pick up their own yards!! THESE are the people I'm talking about, NOT everyone who lives there.

Riverman1
83732
Points
Riverman1 11/27/13 - 03:14 pm
4
1
I remember the national do

I remember the national do not litter campaign 10-15 years ago with the crying Indian was thought to be effective. If advertizing works, give it a shot.

teaparty
11313
Points
teaparty 11/27/13 - 04:01 pm
7
2
bring back the chain gangs
Unpublished

specata said, 'Have Americans become so dumbed-down that they don't see what is happening?'
The "dunbed-down" folks are the ones committing the crimes and littering. We need to bring back the chain gangs and let the criminals pick up the litter.

nocnoc
42470
Points
nocnoc 11/27/13 - 06:41 pm
1
1
The Crying Indian

turned out NOT to be Native American Indian.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Eyes_Cody

He was Sicilian

Riverman1
83732
Points
Riverman1 11/27/13 - 07:00 pm
2
1
NocNoc, c'mon man

NocNoc, c'mon, don't mess up my point :). It would be kind of hard to find a real Indian who still rode a horse around and wore feathers. So he was a card carry actor? The thing is the campaign worked and that's what I'm getting at.

KSL
129205
Points
KSL 11/27/13 - 09:32 pm
0
1
And it might have been a lie,

And it might have been a lie, RM. Somewhere on this thing that causes me problems posting, is a book of myths passed down as American history. One chapter is devoted to the fact that not all tribes were exactly dedicated to the protectiion of the environment.

You know how history keeps getting rewritten.

KSL
129205
Points
KSL 11/27/13 - 09:37 pm
0
1
33 Questions About American

33 Questions About American History You Are Not Supposed to Ask. See chapter 3.

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