Alabama county says landfill-bound trucks are source of litter
- Officials in Alabama's Limestone County say that trucks traveling to a landfill in nearby Morgan County are the source of ongoing litter conditions on local roads due to unsecured tarps, as reported by the Decatur Daily.
- The county's transfer station is operated by Republic Services, which hires subcontractors to transport waste to the landfill, and some local officials have threatened to change contract terms to address the issue. A spokesperson for Republic told the Decatur Daily that no local officials have contacted them about this yet.
- A local councilman in Athens said he plans to develop an ordinance that would have stronger penalties for litter coming from trucks or from residents.
Republic has been singled out by some officials, however they are not the only company operating in this area and the source of litter is hard to pinpoint. The idea of stationing a sheriff's patrol car to issue citations for unsecured loads was dismissed due to staffing resources. Improperly bagged waste from residents, or standard littering from cars or pedestrians could also be factors.
While the problem may be alleviated if local haulers repair or replace tarps on trucks, that may be unnecessary if they won't directly solve the problem. Instead, it may be most effective for local officials to address littering across the board through educational campaigns and more clear communication. In Savannah, GA, collection trucks have been outfitted with anti-litter public service announcements to spread the message to residents. Other cities have considered updating fines, adding cameras or requiring community service for those caught in the act.
To ensure that county officials are focusing their efforts most effectively, they may also consider following a recent plan from Philadelphia to conduct a litter index program and track waste patterns. Until then, all stakeholders — including county officials, their residents and their haulers — should be expected to take responsibility for the problem.
- Decatur Daily Republic contract target of Limestone garbage complaints
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