Letters: South Carolina’s Litter ‘Epidemic’

“It’s appalling, frustrating and maddening.”

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Dear Editor,

Thank you so much for your article ‘South Carolina is Still Dirty.’

My husband and I moved to South Carolina from New York a year ago for many reasons, one of which was the beauty of the south. We in no way moved here with the intention to change anything, but I am so sad that litter has marred the roadsides of such scenic highways and countryside. Our road in particular is very near a lake where fishermen travel frequently. 

The roadside that borders our land was just littered beyond your worst imagination. It took me an entire day and 10 extra large trash bags to pick up most of what I could. Every week since, I collect at least one large trash bag of debris. Much of the litter is bagged empty beer cans, fish carcasses, liquor bottles and fast food containers. It’s appalling, frustrating and maddening.

I’m looking for answers to resolve this epidemic problem.


Karen Dunn
Elloree, S.C.




First of all, thank you for being part of the solution. I don’t think there is a clearer demarcation line in our society than the one separating the classless creeps who litter our roadways with waste and the selfless individuals (like you) who take time out of your day to clean up messes not of your making. So, thank you!

As to a resolution, therein lies the rub. South Carolina’s hefty fines – and the creation and subsidization of an anti-litter bureaucracy within state government – have done absolutely nothing to curb this problem. While I support higher fines – and expanded enforcement – these tools can only go so far.

It is clear South Carolinians need a fundamental reordering of their hearts and minds on this issue – a deeper ingraining of the necessity of keeping our state beautiful not just by refraining from littering, but by doing our part and picking up trash wherever we see it. Your personal example – and your willingness to raise this issue in your letter – is an important step in that reordering.



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Sorry January 15, 2024 at 1:33 pm


You moved for the “beauty of the South”, but sadly, reality set in.

Welcome to a Deep Red State. Make sure to not have any health issues!

Tom Jones January 15, 2024 at 5:53 pm

“It is clear South Carolinians need a fundamental reordering of their hearts and minds on this issue”

Good luck with that. I’ve visited many states and none were as trashy as SC. I’ve seen litter crews clean up a road and it was a mess within a week. My road looks like the surface of the moon and the shoulders are always covered in garbage.

Jackie January 15, 2024 at 6:14 pm

It’s a systemic problem beginning with poor education. No laws will convince ignorant rednecks not to litter. Even if we vastly improved our educational system overnight, it will take two generations to resolve the problem.

Squishy123 (the original) January 15, 2024 at 6:15 pm

Bring back the chain gangs, put them to work picking up trash everyday.

CongareeCatfish Top fan January 16, 2024 at 10:32 am


Mark Houde Top fan January 16, 2024 at 3:40 pm

The trash items you described say a lot about the kind of folks that leave it. If you don’t respect yourself…


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