Two Harrison County inmate crews spend eight hours each weekday alongside major roads and highways. They have plenty of trash to pick up. "It's just unbelievable the amount of rubbish you find on the side of the highway, I mean everything, you find everything," says inmate Mike Rouse.
The amount of garbage that fills the huge plastic bags is unbelievable. Harrison County Sheriff's Deputy Clifford Foles sayss "My crew averages about, pickin' up about 40 bags a day, about 200 bags a week and normally over 2 tons a week on average." Foles says the garbage they see everyday doesn't speak very highly of people. "I don't understand that people has no more pride than they do just to throw their litter alongside the highway, just throw out their beer bottles, beer cans, even household garbage, they throw out on the highway."
Rouse says he has a perfect punishment for litterbugs. "I think instead of fining someone for littering, let 'em walk the highway and pick up trash for a coupla days. Coupla days will break you from it, it really will, ya know," he says.
Roadside litter is ugly, but marine litter can be deadly to birds and sealife. The workers at the wildlife preserve north of Pass Christian take care of marine life and birds that have run-ins with plastic 6-pack rings, fishing line and hooks. Katy Pope, the Director of WRANPS says, "The hooks will become lodged in their pouch and it'll cause pouch tears. They can get it entangled, several birds get it entangled in the wings and as a result they're going several weeks if not longer without eating and their conditions become worse."
Protecting marine life and raising public awareness about litter is a constant lesson. But from the looks of it, it seems not everyone is paying attention.