Volunteers have picked up more than 70 bags of litter along Moore County roadsides since Jan. 1, but fixing the problem at its root is the real goal for Keep Moore County Beautiful.
“Littering is a behavior,” said Karen Kaplan, the organization’s co-chair.
Last year, KMCB was in danger of folding due to board member attrition and a steady decrease in volunteer interest. Following a brief hiatus in mid-2020, an organizational meeting was held and the group has made steady gains since.
Kaplan said the organization has grown to an 18-strong volunteer board. More hands-on people who are equally “passionate about fixing Moore County’s litter problem” are welcome to join.
“Our members are spread out all over the county. One of our biggest efforts led by co-chair Tracy Cicattelli is encouraging roadside cleanups,” said Kaplan.
Curtis Richie, a resident of Whispering Pines, is one of the group’s newer volunteers. He has logged a number of hours bagging trash along Niagara Carthage Road. New KMCB volunteers Bill Baker and Bridget Cotton are also developing micro-grant applications they hope will provide start-up funds to buy more safety vests, gloves and other clean-up materials.
Other local anti-litter efforts include a security camera installed at the county’s landfill transfer station on N.C. 5 to help enforce tarp regulations.
Solid Waste Director David Lambert said Moore County’s “secure your load” state statute carries a $500 fine and people are barred from entering the landfill if their load is not properly covered.
“The goal, of course, is that it will prevent windblown litter within our landfill and encourage people to comply with the rule from their point of origin,” Lambert said, noting that he has received an uptick in complaints about roadside litter. “The main point is that we all have to work together to solve this issue.”
Across the state, NCDOT crews, contractors and volunteers have collected more than 2 million pounds of litter from roadsides this year.
“NCDOT and our partners have been working tirelessly over the past three months to remove litter from roadsides,” said state Transportation Secretary Eric Boyette in a March 17 news release. “But there’s a lot more work to do and we could certainly use help from citizens who can do their part by disposing of trash properly or volunteering during our upcoming Spring Litter Sweep.”
NCDOT has also coordinated with the Moore County Sheriff’s Office on inmate roadside pickup programs. Some of those efforts have slowed down as a result of the pandemic, Kaplan said.
KMCB are planning several events in April as part of the statewide NCDOT Litter Sweep campaign. Volunteers will be working on N.C. 5 on April 10, and a second daylong cleanup is being planned in conjunction with Earth Day on April 22.
In addition, litter conscious North Carolinians now have a new way to report litterers through a simple, mobile-friendly web application.
The new Swat-A-Litterbug app allows users to easily report when someone sees trash being thrown from a vehicle. The owner of the vehicle will receive a formal notification from the N.C. State Highway Patrol informing them about the littering offense, as well as the penalties for littering, and a note urging them to help keep North Carolina clean.
Access the app by visiting ncdot.gov/litter. First time mobile users will be given a pop-up instruction on how to add a shortcut to their phone’s home screen. This will add an icon that, when clicked, will take users directly to the Swat-A-Litterbug form.
You can do your part to eliminate roadside litter by:
Securing your load before driving. Unsecured trash can fly from a vehicle and end up as roadside litter.
Holding onto trash until it can be disposed of properly. Keep a litter bag in your vehicle so you can properly dispose of trash later.
Recycling when possible. Recycling protects the environment, saves landfill space and keeps the community clean.
The 19th Annual Marge Owings Memorial Golf Tournament “Go Fore The Green” to benefit Keep Moore County Beautiful will be held Saturday, May 8, at Mid Pines Inn & Golf Club, Southern Pines. Cosponsored by Moore County Parks and Recreation, the 18-hole Captain’s Choice event has a $125 per player fee that includes lunch, on-course beverages, a tournament favor and 4 complimentary Green fees at Mid Pines for every golfer. Entry Deadline is April 8, register online now at www.moorecountync.gov/parks-and-recreation/golf