Southampton County’s real trash problem

Published 9:41 am Wednesday, January 18, 2017

In 2012, Southampton County announced it would begin assessing most residents an annual $200 charge to make up for shortfalls in the county budget.

The fee, which became known as the “trash fee,” was widely criticized and largely unpopular among those who would have to pay it. To this day when discussing trash in Southampton County, the “trash fee” and the county’s relationship with regional trash authority SPSA are the two most commonly referred two aspects of Southampton’s trash situation. But perhaps they shouldn’t be.

Southampton County’s real trash problem has nothing to do with fees or when, where and by whom trash is collected. The real problem is that, in Southampton County, trash is everywhere. Literally, everywhere.

Primary roads. Secondary roads. State roads. County roads. Nearly every ditch on every road in the county is full of trash. On Rt. 58 westbound, just beyond the entrance ramp from Armory Drive in Franklin, lies a recliner. It’s been there for years. And it, among the mountain of trash scattered from one end of the county to the other, is an embarrassment.

Southampton County is home to many who claim to love the land. Farmers, hunters, fisherman and those who simply profess a love for the rural natural landscape the county provides are fiercely protective of their rights to enjoy and use the land as they see fit. And they should be.

But given the amount of trash strewn all about the county, perhaps it’s time residents stop talking about how much they love it and start treating the county’s land as though they actually do.