TUSCUMBIA — City leaders are contemplating methods to prevent littering along one of the city’s most trash-infested stretches.
The area along North King Street, especially around East Richton Street, seems to be a magnet for litter, City Councilman Richard Coates said.
He said there are locations throughout the city where litter is troublesome, but King Street seems to be a particularly targeted.
Coates said the trash obviously is coming from motorists and not residents living along the path who keep their yards neat.
Most trash is along the side of the road opposite of the residences.
“Most is just scattered about, not accumulated in one place,” Coates said.
Mayor Bill Shoemaker said one King Street resident used to voluntarily go up and down the street picking up trash, but the job became too much for one person.
“People have been accustomed to throwing it out the window,” Shoemaker said. “Some habits are hard to break.”
He said education is the key to preventing litter. He said when schools tell children about it, the children often chastise their parents when the parents throw something from a vehicle.
Councilman Randall Davis said a resident told him the problem along King Street is not as bad during the summer, but worsens in August when the fall term begins at nearby Northwest-Shoals Community College. Numerous students drive along that path daily.
“Maybe we could partner with the college in an outreach program,” Davis said.
Northwest-Shoals spokesman Trent Randolph said he was not aware of the problem, but likes the idea of a partnership between the college and city to help correct it. He said Northwest-Shoals President Humphrey Lee has been involved in anti-litter efforts in the Shoals.
“That’s definitely something we would look at doing,” Randolph said. “Dr. Lee has always been a huge advocate of the Keep the Shoals Beautiful campaign, so anything we can do, we’d be happy to assist.”
Coates suggested placing a garbage bin at the location, but there still would be the logistical problem of motorists stopping to throw trash in it.
Coates said the bin still would not stop those who habitually throw trash out because they are too lazy to get rid of it properly.
In addition, Shoemaker said King Street residents might not like having a bin near their front yard.
Linda Brown, who lives near the King-Richton intersection, is upset about the litter problem. She said motorists should be more considerate.
Brown said litter can be dangerous, depending what is thrown out.
“When my own children were smaller, I walked out one morning and someone had thrown a bottle of liquor out and it had a jagged edge on it,” she said. “If I hadn’t found it, it could have cut one of their feet right off.”
Littering is a misdemeanor in the city, but Police Chief Tony Logan said it is difficult to enforce because the offender has to be caught in the act and nobody is going to litter when a patrol car is nearby.
The chief and city attorney Tom Heflin are discussing the legality of placing cameras at the intersection that could catch litterers in the act and record their license tag numbers.
Logan said if someone is considering picking up litter, he knows an incentive.
“When our trustees pick up trash at that stop sign, they make $10-$12 because some people put their change in fast-food bags and forget it’s in there when they throw it out.”
Bernie Delinski can be reached at 256-740-5739 or bernie.delinski@TimesDaily.com.