Yesterday evening, Folly Beach City Council members met for a two-hour work session in order to brainstorm ideas to address the prevalence of litter on their beaches and streets. Increased attention has been given to the issue of trash and litter as a result of 4th of July festivities that left both Folly Beach and Morris Island absolutely trashed.
Each council member had an opportunity to present his thoughts on the matter. Councilman Goodwin suggested that the city use the public radio station, 1610AM, to broadcast information and regulations pertaining to the beaches. He recommended that signs be erected on Folly Road encouraging people to “tune in.” In addition, the councilman proposed that the city officially adopt the SC State Litter Law which issues a $1,000 fine, court time and community service to any ‘litterbug’.
Mayor Beckmann emphasized that it is essential to “change the behavior of people” in order to address the problem, and yet, he said, “[this is] the hardest of our challenges.” The mayor also made a statement of personal responsibility, explaining that it is fine for citizens to expect a clean beach, but it is just as much their responsibility to do something if they see polluters or litterers as it is the city’s, “the thing with litter is that you’ve got to catch people in the act.”
A number of public organizations, non-profits, schools and social clubs already donate their time and attention to Folly Beach and other areas by organizing regular beach sweeps and cleanups. Councilwoman Beck challenged the city to support such groups and organizations, considering the amount of support they have given the city.
Councilman McCarty’s recommendations focused on the importance of community involvement. He proposed a 5-pointed approach to do so:
- Engage the citizens
- Inform the public
- Enlist volunteers
- Reward positive behavior
- Audit effectiveness of abovementioned efforts
After nearly two and a half hours of brainstorming, council members reached a very simple consensus: litter on our beaches and streets must be addressed by attacking it from more than one angle.
Charleston Waterkeeper commends the City of Folly Beach for taking an active role in addressing litter on our beaches and streets. Such leadership provides a prime example for citizens and neighboring municipalities.