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Guest editorial: Grab a Bag again focuses on litter

Litter pick up

Volunteers work together during a Grab A Bag litter clean up on Sassafras Road in September.

Litter remains a problem for South Carolina’s image and for the attitude it reflects among too many South Carolinians.

Why anyone with an ounce of public consciousness would discard trash along roadsides and anywhere else outside designated locations is a mystery to the many who not only don’t litter but spend time cleaning up the litter deposited by others. Littering reflects an attitude of uncaring that is certain to show up in other aspects of litterers’ lives with regard to respect for anything and everything, including human life itself.

But because there are those who cannot be expected to behave in the best interest of themselves and all, there are laws that punish offenders. In South Carolina, litter laws were strengthened in 2018 and are being more strictly enforced. But just as no law stops all offenders all the time, littering cannot be controlled by enforcement alone. It takes caring people unwilling to litter and willing to clean up when others do.

A year ago, Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette and PalmettoPride asked South Carolinians to grab a bag and clean up their communities. Grab A Bag SC was a statewide litter pickup challenge inspired by Evette’s own experience picking up in her home community and even during her family vacations. Participants, including the S.C. Department of Transportation with its Fall Cleanup, picked up more than 116 tons of litter from S.C. roadways.

In 2020, Grab A Bag S.C. is back.

Evette kicked off the new campaign at Clemson University with the help of the Solid Green Club during a press conference, followed by a litter pickup around campus. The statewide initiative is a safe litter pickup event that encourages South Carolinians to help clean up litter, one bag at a time.

“Getting outside and doing something for our community can make a tremendous impact on more than just our neighbors,” Evette said. “We want to encourage families and businesses to make it a part of their activities.”

Litter pickup events are a great way for people to safely enjoy the outdoors while doing something good for the environment. When following guidelines for social distancing, picking up litter in your community can be a purposeful way to take care of your well-being but still give back.

Grab A Bag SC 2020 organizers are asking for businesses and economic development leaders to lead by example and make litter prevention a part of state improvement conversations.

It starts with one bag, one piece of trash and all of us working together creating a litter-free South Carolina.

Grab a bag, rally your friends and family, put on your safety gear and head outside for a chance to enjoy the outdoors while making a difference.

— The Times & Democrat, Orangeburg

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