Thousands of pounds of litter collected every day in Berkeley County

BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - More than 1,000 pounds of litter – that's how much garbage is picked up from the side of the road in Berkeley County.

The Sheriff's Inmate Work Detail was created by Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis who took office several years ago.

The detail is made up of non-violent inmates (in trouble for things like bad checks or not paying child support) and Lewis said it's been very successful so far.

"It's really been doing a couple of things – which is what I wanted. Number one we're cleaning the county roadways up and it's not costing the tax payers anything. The second reason – it's my hopes that our young people see this worker inmate detail on the side of the road, in the striped uniforms, and hopefully it will deter them from getting involved with drugs or crime," Lewis said.

Each day, the inmates are pick up, on average, 1,500 pounds of litter. Last year, according to Lewis, they picked up 336,000 pounds.

"I think it has a lot to do with the people coming through the area and they may be less inclined to not throw the trash out. But I have to say a lot of it, I think, comes from people hauling trash from one location to another," Lewis said.

He added some of it also comes from people just throwing it out their window. And residents are frustrated.

"It is very shocking. But I guess you can believe it when you ride up and down and see it," Mary Jo Lowry said. Lowry has lived in Berkeley County for 35 years and added "nobody likes to see that. We want our area to be nice and clean."

Travis Clarke, who has lived in Cordesville for 10 years, said, "If you buy stuff, take care of it and don't throw it out the window. Bring it home with you and recycle. Do what you need to do."

The inmates have picked up everything from fast food wrappers to bottles and much more.

"They're running into tires and bumpers and syringes and in a couple of situations the inmates have found stolen pistols that have been discarded on the side of the road," Lewis said.

The state fine for littering is $1,000 and there are deputies assigned to catching people who throw out their trash. If you'd like to report someone littering you can call 877-7LITTER (754-8837).

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