Litter Problem Plagues South Mississippi

It has become a plague along many roads and medians. A recent mess along I-10 probably blew off a truck. But careless drivers tossing drink cups are just as responsible.

Most everyone knows littering is against the law, but it's more than a law enforcement issue.

"Litter affects the quality of life of all our citizens. And we all have to take pride," said Gulfport police officer, Alfred Sexton.

The veteran officer has written litter citations. He says littering not only makes an area ugly, it can actually hinder development.

"Just like corporations, when they come in and they want to build, they want to see something that is nice and clean and that people take pride in their city," he said.

The folks who can best appreciate what pigs some people are, are the work crews who pick up litter along Interstate 10 and other area roadways. Some parts of the road look like a trash dump.

"We're out here every day. About four or five hours a day, picking up trash," said an inmate named "Mikey."

He and his fellow workers pick up some two thousand pounds a day.

"Coke bottles. Beer bottles. Pretty much everything you could think of," he said.

The "what" and "where" questions are easy. It's the "why" that's puzzling.

"Why do they do it?" said Mikey, "I guess they're too lazy to throw it in the garbage can."

The deputy who supervises the daily clean-up says uncovered trucks are also responsible.

Deputy John Cuevas says it's not just careless drivers tossing their garbage roadside.

"Trucks coming up and down the road, just blowing trash out and they don't do nothing," he explained.

Whether from trucks, or careless drivers, putting litter in it's place isn't all that difficult.

"Throw the trash in the trash cans," said one of the inmates picking up litter, "It's as simple as that."

That's it. Simple perhaps, but apparently a truth that too many choose to ignore, or simply don't care about.