ROCKINGHAM — More than four tons of trash were picked up from Richmond County roadsides in August, according to the monthly solid waste report.
The report, highlighted by County Manager Bryan Land each month in his report to the Richmond County Board of Commissioners, shows county and state workers picked up 455 bags of trash and 14 tires from 26 roads — weighing 4.12 tons.
County employees, along with the N.C. Department of Transportation, netted 57 bags from U.S. 74 Business and 47 bags on Galestown Road.
Of the 23 roads cleaned just by the county, 14 resulted in 10 or more bags of litter:
- Oak Ridge Church Road – 30
- Loch Haven Road – 29
- Sandhills Road, Mizpah Road – 21
- N.C. 381 – 20
- Wiregrass Road – 19
- Mill, Old Cheraw, Airport roads – 16
- Church Street, Freeman Mill Road – 14
- Harrington, County Home roads – 12
- Lee Thee Church Road – 10
The county also picked up bags of litter from the following roads:
- Rosalyn, Battley Dairy roads – 9
- Chalk Road – 4
- Hatcher and Hall roads, E. Washington Street Ext. – 6
- Eason Drive – 2
- Hannah Pickett Avenue – 8
According to the report, the state picked up an additional 47 bags from U.S. 1 N.
Six of the 14 discarded tires were found on Sandhills Road, four on Wiregrass, and two each on Harrington and Mill roads.
The amount of garbage picked up nearly doubled from the 2.14 tons in July.
There were also two illegal dump sites reported and investigated and two garbage burning investigations, the report shows. The county also issued one warning notice and one citation
NCDOT’s Fall Litter Sweep began Sept. 11, with the county participating through Saturday.
However, Asst. Public Works Director Bryan Leggett told the RO on Wednesday, “… we have had very little response with volunteers.”
The countywide Earth Day effort, led by Leggett and Aging Services Director Jacqueline Welch, saw 39 volunteer groups collect 404 bags of trash weighing 6,449 pounds (3.22 tons). The event was originally slated for April 24 but was pushed back to May 1 due to weather.
According to the April Solid Waste Report, 3.7 tons of litter were picked up ahead of the event and 3.5 tons were collected in May.
Land has, on multiple occasions, referred to the county’s trash problem as an “epidemic.”
County records show more than 30 tons of trash have been picked up from local roads this year.
But it’s not just a local issue.
State transportation officials reported Aug. 24 that more than 9 million pounds, or 4,500 tons, have been collected across North Carolina. They also estimate the state will break the 10.5 million-pound record set in 2019.
Last month, Commissioner Don Bryant suggested putting up security cameras in high-litter areas.
Bryant also proposed raising littering fines to $1,000 and/or a week-long work detail.
In February, House Majority Leader Dan Bell, R-Wayne, introduced a bill that would, in part, double litter-related fines.
However, legislative records show House Bill 100 has been stalled since late April when a committee substitute — which only calls for a study into littering penalties — was sent back to the Appropriations Committee.