August 2016

Trash Terrorists Sought in Beaufort, Jasper Counties

Author: Paul deVere

At a recent press conference hosted by the BJJTFFLD (Beaufort Jasper Joint Task Force for Litter Diminution), an official with the South Carolina Litter Control Association (SCLCA), who requested to remain anonymous because she was not allowed to speak to the media but did so anyway because that’s just how she is (everybody knows it’s my cousin Bernice), confirmed that both Beaufort and Jasper County authorities are looking into allegations that certain persons from neighboring Chatham County, Georgia are the cause of all the litter that clogs portions of the medians on U.S. 278 and SC 170 in Beaufort County, the drainage ditches along SC 462 all the way out to I-95, U.S. 21 from I-95 to Beaufort, and most county roads where paper and plastic savagely compete with vegetation (and often win).

“We just know these people, these ‘trash terrorists,’ who are causing this outrageous litter problem have to be from out of state,” the SCLCA spokesperson (Bernice) stated, as she showed us a video selfie on her iPad of her pushing the remains of an old couch (a Divani Casa knock-off) from the shoulder on SC 170 near OldField. “I mean, these roads are Beaufort and Jasper’s front yard. This is the ‘front desk’ of the Lowcountry. Who the heck would trash their own front yard? Nope, we’re pretty sure it must be out-of-staters. Who knows? Could be Pooler, maybe even Savannah,” she said.

As proof of her allegations, the SCLCA spokesperson (Bernice) pulled up several revealing images on her iPad. On SC 462, there were four old mattresses, two broken La-Z-Boys, a smashed commode, impossible to count plastic grocery bags, and an additional thousand (or so) containers from every major (and some very minor) fast food restaurants. “See, here’s proof!” Bernice practically shouted, pointing to an image of a discarded bag from Krystal. Admittedly, the closest Krystal burger joint is in Pooler, Georgia, so the trash did come from Pooler.

“And look at these!” Bernice was actually shouting now. She had pulled up new images of several cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon and six empty bottles of Southbound’s (a Savannah, Georgia brewery) Moondance (an excellent, very smooth stout) discarded in a ditch at Exit 8 off I-95. “No self-respecting citizen of Beaufort or Jasper County would touch a can of disgusting Pabst (Bernice’s favorite is Bud Lite Lime). And that snooty Southbound stuff is all from Georgia, put here by Georgia trash terrorists who want us South Carolinians to look bad! They are jealous of our beaches and our golf courses. They’ll do anything to make us seem sleazy.”

Bernice explained that fresh food “containers” (e.g. banana skins, orange peels, watermelon rinds and apple cores) did not pose as serious a problem on the counties’ highways since Mother Nature and her abundant minions (armadillos, raccoons, squirrels, wild boar) do a good job cleaning up small organic debris. She (Bernice) added that vultures (both black and turkey), who frequent the skies of Beaufort and Jasper Counties in large numbers, do an extraordinary job cleaning up larger, partially decomposed detritus (deer, armadillo, raccoon, squirrel, and partially consumed Quarter Pounders), saving the Beaufort and Jasper County taxpayers “heaps of money” on highway beautification.

Everybody knows Bernice has a thing about animals, which is why she continued about buzzards. “We, at the SCLCA, have great admiration for vultures. Out of respect, we never call them ‘buzzards.’ While they have gotten bad press lately due to certain Wall Street types [Bernice went off topic a bit, as she tends to do, explaining that Vulture Funds are extreme hedge funds and tend to bankrupt entire countries via sovereign debt—see what almost happened to Puerto Rico], the SCLCA are fans and supporters of these fine carrion consumers,” she said.

While the SCLCA spokesperson (Bernice) was railing against suspected Georgian trash terrorists, we learned from an independent source (my lady friend was with me doing some fact checking on her iPhone) that since 2014, South Carolina (the whole state!) has been ranked the No. 1 “worst” and dirtiest public spaces state in the country (the whole country!). The American State Litter Scorecard, which is where this distinction comes from, is released annually by the American Society for Public Administration, a public service advocacy group in Washington, D.C.

While Bernice carried on about those suspected “Pooler polluters,” we made a phone call (easy to do when Bernice gets all wound up) to the sheriff’s departments of the two South Carolina counties to see how many people have been picked up for littering in the past 24 hours, with emphasis on Chatham County residents. Based on their responses (zero), we must have caught them on a slow day.

The SCLCA spokesperson (Bernice) concluded that the SCLCA, in full and complete cooperation with the SCDNR (South Carolina Department of Natural Resources), the SCDOT (South Carolina Department of Transportation), and Beaufort and Jasper County Sheriff’s offices will work to apprehend these foreign litter bugs and prosecute them to the full “litter of the law.” Bernice, bless her, apologized for her pun.

The three members of the press corps (that would be me, Bernice’s other cousin Frances, my competition, and June-Louise, who freelances for one of the Savannah television stations and is Bernice’s sister-in-law) chuckled, gave Bernice a hand, and headed for the coffee and donut table where we signed a petition that demanded that all fast food restaurants in the two counties have at least one trash container available for drive-thru customers. 

Author’s Note:
There is no such thing as the BJJTFFLD, Beaufort Jasper Joint Task Force for Litter Diminution. There probably should be. However, there is such a thing as the SCLCA, South Carolina Litter Control Association, a non-profit whose members work to get litter laws enforced through relationships with various law enforcement agencies throughout the state. There’s Palmetto Pride, “a legislative initiative created to fight litter and help beautify South Carolina,” according to their website. The goals of both these groups and the people and volunteers who are trying to achieve those goals are extraordinary. But this state depends on non-profit groups and prisoners—you’ve seen the sheriff’s van out there with “guests of the county/state” picking up trash—to keep South Carolina beautiful. But I wonder, if there’s a high volume of litter one weekend, are more arrests made to bolster the litter patrol?

Also, there is such a thing as the American State Litter Scorecard, and there is such an organization as the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA, a non-partisan watch dog group that’s been around since 1939, aimed at improving public services. And South Carolina (that would be us) is the worst state in the country when it comes to litter. We look like a dump. Contact your governor, senator, representative, mayor, councilman, priest, pastor, rabbi, anybody. Go ahead, change the world. Your world. It’s possible. No kidding.

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