Horry County boat landings getting trashed, volunteers say

There's a lot going on at Peachtree Boat Landing in Socastee this summer, and a lot being left behind, too.

Things like cups, bottles, candy wrappers and, most of all, waste tossed aside by smokers.

"Cigarette butts is the number one litter basically in the U.S., but it's obviously a litter problem for us here, too," said Waccamaw Riverkeeper Christine Ellis.

Ellis said an Adopt-a-Boat-Landing program began a couple of years ago, in which local groups volunteer to clean up the landings at least three times a year.

But the Keep Horry County Beautiful Committee discovered the landings need more help than that.

The group got one idea from the 15th Circuit solicitor's office: require offenders in the pretrial intervention program to pick up the trash.

"So we want to work with them to try to set up some litter cleanups. We'll do two pilots to see how our groups interact and then we'd like to launch it," said Bo Ives, vice chairman of the committee.

Ives said the Horry County Solid Waste Authority is trying to come up with a collection bin that has an opening that's only big enough to accept litter.

He says small trash containers tend to disappear from the boat landings, and big dumpsters end up getting filled with people's household waste.

"So we're trying to look at some medium ground, where it's large enough it won't disappear and small enough opening to where it won't have household garbage end up in there."

Ellis says it's bad enough that the trash at the boat landing sites is unsightly. What's worse is that so much of it ends up in the river.

"It does impact water quality by bringing in bacteria with it and it also impacts the wildlife that are associated with our river," Ellis said.

Ellis explained that everyone is impacted by litter, so cleaning it up or preventing it in the first place is the ultimate solution.