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"Worst" #1 SOUTH CAROLINA, #2 NEVADA, IN, GA, KY, WY, SD, LA, MI, NM, OK.
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©2015 American State Litter Scorecard. NOT FOR COMMERCIAL USE.
MAY 2015 MONSTROSITY: "Last Place & Dirtiest" SOUTH CAROLINA's Widespread "Troubles" Remain; Plenty of Blame to Go Around
The antics of South Carolina (SC) have given a newer meaning to an old colloquial phrase,“The Dirty South" (according to a mass media blog posting from last year). This Palmetto State STILL has the dubious peculiarity as the Scorecard’s #1 “worst” and dirtiest public spaces government in the United States.Widespread problems, including deficient citizen ecological practices and inept governmental behaviors, contribute mightily to the "dead last in America" rating (see first two photos on left). A result of those practices and behaviors: approximately 15 DEAD each year inside SC from vehicle crashes with unremoved litter/debris along State, County and City public roadways.
For starters: Imprudent officials chose to forsake a once-operative anti-litter slogan covering all 46 counties and 269+ communities [Excepting SC, all coast-to-coast states south of Interstate 40 have a singular anti-litter slogan]. The slogans are authorized in conjunction with public officials (i.e."Take Pride in Florida," "Don’t Mess with Texas," next-door "Litter-Free North Carolina: NC's Mean About Clean"--see slogan photo on left) and consistently helpful in lowering both accumlated solid waste volumes and removal expenditures in 35+ states [North of Interstate 40, #9 "worst" Michigan; #3 "worst" Indiana; New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts are large states WITHOUT an enacted slogan]. Regrettably, South Carolinians put all their faith into voluntary, yet limited-reaching, unenforced, “Adopt-a-Highway/Spot” PROGRAMS that if lucky and respected, see JUST four litter pickups-totally insufficient for a two year period, and ONLY along designated roadways. Sadly, these programs DON’T CLEAN UP illegal wastes from miles and miles of public spaces (streets, parks, beaches, trails). Litter abatement studies in the USA and Canada show that having a combination of just ONE single state slogan everybody knows, with obeyed, respected government directives to maintain spaces cleanliness, works the best.
Most Scorecard "best" governments have a goal or mandate, to protect public health and properties by reducing all sources of solid waste. South Carolina fails miserably in pursuing any portion of that goal. Like much of the South outside Florida, there is NO enactment of Comprehensive Recycling Mandates and Plans for all counties and communities, and NO container deposits legislation, both proven to reduce waste presence and abatement costs. Incredibly, South Carolinians are the second MOST WASTEFUL AMERICANS, throwing away more un-reused, un-recycled items per person per day (including most-littered cigarette butts)--than residents of 48 other states. A consensus from local, native residents interviewed in newspaper stories about the 2014 Scorecard ranking and unchecked littering/dumping claim litterbugs often arrive as out-of state visitors--possibly, from "worst" states Michigan, Indiana, and Kentucky to the north; Georgia from the south. Or, they may be visiting "Yankees" from northeastern cities of Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Atlanta--each noted for being top TRAVEL+LEISURE "Dirtiest Cities," and having high populations of "profiled litterers" ages 16-25. Additionally, a Williamsburg County newspaper reported that SC's Municipal and Rural Landfills are growing at an alarming rate, with over $12.5 million spent in total by residents and industry just to dispose waste that could have reused, recycled (see trash can full of money, left photo). The report mentions a gain of millions of dollars in potential tax revenues and hundreds of jobs created that could benefit the Palmetto State, if Comprehensive Recycling ever goes into effect.
Both bad governance and blundering politicians bear heavy hands on the Palmetto State’s history of environmental misfortunes. The Center for Public Integrity notes the state capitol at Columbia has a “long, tortured history when it comes to ethical governance,” suffering with the six highest RISK for STATE GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION [Scorecard "worst" #4 Georgia rates as THE "highest risk"!]. NIKKI HALEY, a Republican, manages to remain Governor despite a court trial on ethics violations while a House of Representatives member (see photo on left). The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT), lead by Janet Oakley, trails 34 other states on actual “Environmental Stewardship" of 41,000 miles (63 percent) of taxpaid "Thoroughfares.” House Speaker Bobby Harrell (in bottom court trial photo, left) perhaps SC’s most powerful public official beyond Ms. Haley, and Representatives such as Weston Newton, wind up resisting good environmental legislation and guidelines that save tax dollars and lives while advancing property cleanliness. In a recent year, the General Assembly could only approve only a woeful $21.70 per person budgetary expenditure on environmental protection measures. "Even in the face of clearly defined problems, there's still not a movement to change,” said Cathy Hazelwood, a lawyer for the State Ethics Commission, which by the way, received a performance grade of "F" from Stateintegrity.org
We end this evaluation with remarks from a 2014 editorial from University of South Carolina’s The Gamecock: ”Letting the litter continue to pile up and scar the state’s environment would be an incredible shame…There are a number of reasons South Carolina ought to clean up its act. But if nothing else, isn’t it worth it to rid the state of one of its many last-place rankings? We think so.”