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Officials urge residents to call about litter

LANETT – A full garbage bag, an empty six-pack container and a Styrofoam cup are just some of the typical pieces of garbage that can be found lying on the side of the road on several Chambers County highways.

Driving along County Road 211 in Chambers County toward West Point Lake, motorists are greeted with litter scattered on both sides of the road for a few miles.

Chambers County Sheriff Sid Lockhart knows about the problem, but said it’s tough to catch anybody in the act.

“It’s a sad problem isn’t it?” Lockhart said. “However, it is hard to catch anybody littering.”

If a person is caught, they can be charged with criminal littering, and people are doing it every day, Lockhart said. Anytime anybody throws something out of their vehicle, even as simple as trash flying out the back of a pickup truck, it’s criminal littering.

Macy Horton in the solid waste and code enforcement office said when somebody calls in a complaint, a conversation is had with trustees from the jail. Then, a crew of inmates are usually assembled to help pick up the trash.

However, she said the county can’t be everywhere at once.

“We can’t get to every spot all the time,” Horton said. “If people don’t call, then we don’t know.”

Lockhart said the sheriff’s department can catch a break if somebody leaves a full trash bag on the side of the road. He said officers will open the bags to search for contact information.

Chambers County Sheriff’s Department Captain Jason Fuller said in order to prosecute, there has to be certain information.

“It has to be an address on a medical bill or a utility bill, and I usually like to have more than one,” he said. “It can’t just be a flyer that is thrown in a mailbox.”

Lockhart said the first time usually involves contacting the addressee and seeing what happened. The second contact could come with a warrant for their arrest.

In fact, the first time could result in citations if there is no excuse or the homeowner doesn’t have a trash can. Lockhart said it’s the law in Chambers County, outside of the city limits, to have a trash can and a person can be cited for it.

Lockhart said it’s a problem he recognizes in Chambers County and hopes residents will continue to call if they see places that need to be picked up.

“People should have more respect for where they live,” he said.

To report an area in the county with litter, call the Chambers County Solid Waste Department at (334) 864-4332.