Harrison County Getting Tough On Litter

There's always plenty of trash for inmates to pick up on Harrison County roads and state highways.

"People be throwing stuff on the highways, so we do the best we can to try to keep it clean," inmate Stanley Riley said

But keeping it clean is almost impossible. The areas the inmates clean one day will be trashed again within a week.

"It never stops. It's like we pick it up today and two days later it's right back, it's right back, messy. So we never stop. Monday through Friday, it's something to pick up," Larry Burks said.

"It's a never ending situation," inmate Rick Owens said. "We're always cleaning' up, it's going to be everyday."

Just this week alone the prisoners have picked up 840 pounds of trash. The large amounts are one reason why Harrison County is beefing up its 12-year-old litter ordinance. Beautification Director Jennifer McLaughlin says the old ordinance is too broad, the new one will address specific issues.

"People throwing things out their car window, your issues of finding litter in public areas. You're also, like 18 wheelers, that they're required to have their trucks covered, those types of issues," McLaughlin said.

Along with enforcing the law, McLaughlin says a litter ordinance is designed to make citizens aware that the county wants to be litter free. That may seem rather ambitious, but McLaughlin says you can help if you see litterbugs.

"If you do see somebody throw something out the window, you can get their tag number and call *47 and that person will get a notice letter saying they were seen throwing something out the window," she said.

McLaughlin says an ordinance only goes so far. Citizens have to get involved in reducing litter too, since violators can only be charged if they're caught in the act.

The county supervisors are expected to discuss the ordinance at their March 25th meeting. The fine for violating the ordinance is up to $250.