Supervisors propose ordinance to make littering a crime

Published 11:11 am Thursday, March 3, 2011

COURTLAND—Dawn Gunn is concerned for Southampton County’s cotton farmers, who can experience problems when plastic bags littered about their fields get into their cotton pickers.

Farmers must remove the bags from the machinery, which can be dangerous. Plastic bag particles cannot be removed during the ginning process, and garments tainted with plastic won’t take dye.

That’s why Gunn, a member of Southampton County Litter Control Council, is pleased with an ordinance proposed by Southampton County Board of Supervisors that would make littering a crime. The ordinance will make it consistent with state legislation.

“I think it’s absolutely wonderful,” Gunn said. “The laws are there. If they would just simply use the laws that are on the books, it will help so many of the farmers. It will help make our county look nicer. You don’t want to move to a county that’s trashed.”

The proposed ordinance calls for violators to spend up to 12 months in jail and pay fines ranging from $250 to $2,500.

Supervisors during their 7 p.m. March 28 meeting will host a public hearing at the County Office Center on the proposed ordinance. Supervisors could then vote to adopt it.

Plastic bags contribute to a lot of the county’s litter, Gunn said.

“They get stuck in the back of big trash trucks and get lose,” she said. “They’re like natural kites and they just fly out.”

Gunn said she’s also seen people who will buy a few things at a store, which are placed in a plastic bag.

“They lay the plastic bag in one of the carts and away it flies,” Gunn said. “They really pose a serious problem for cotton farmers.”