At the start of the pandemic in early 2020, it was probably an unlikely thought that restrictions caused by the virus would lead to a lot more trash on the side of the road.
Local government has in the past contracted with the Sanford Correctional Center’s work release program, which allows for inmates to pick up litter. But like so many other things, COVID-19 led to the suspension of the program due to concerns about keeping prisoners in close quarters to and from job sites.
The results, predictably, can be seen along the side of nearly any major road in the area.
Now, the city of Sanford has entered into a partnership with a Greensboro company to get the problem back under control.
R.A.C.O. Artsee Expression began collecting trash on Feb. 8, and within little over a week had already gathered 1,840 pounds, according to a press release from the city.
“Sanford City Council diverted funding from other projects to make this concerted effort to clean up our streets after the increase in littering during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sanford Mayor Chet Mann. “Council doesn’t understand or condone people throwing out trash on our streets, and wants to keep our City presentable and healthy for our residents. We hope it has a lasting effect.”
Meanwhile, at the county level, Captain Brian Estes of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office said he’s looking at ways to safely give opportunities to inmates at the county jail – separate from the SCC, which houses those convicted of crimes from across the state versus those who have been charged locally and are awaiting trial — to help with roadside cleanup.
“I spoke with someone from the Moore County Sheriff’s Office about a program they’re doing there, and I don’t know what it would look like yet, but that’s something I’m interested in doing with our inmates,” Estes said. “I think those guys would look forward to getting out there and doing something like that.”
Finally, litter isn’t just unsightly. It also poses a threat to local wildlife. That’s according to Byron Wortham, who runs Holly’s Nest, a local animal rescue that rehabilitates animals ranging from squirrels and deer to hawks and owls. Wortham and his team have recently released multiple rehabilitated birds back into the wild.
“Probably 90 percent of the birds we rescue are due to something humans have done, whether it’s hitting them with a car or a window or something else,” Wortham said. “But for the last six months or so, trash has been the number one thing. When you throw a fast food wrapper out of the window, the mice are attracted. And then the owls come down to get the mice, and bam – they get hit by a car coming around the bend.”
Wortham said other animals are at risk too.
“If a dog is on the side of the road eating something, or even a deer, and you come around the corner and hit it, then you’ve killed someone’s pet and maybe gotten into an accident,” he said. “So you should keep your trash in the car and dispose of it properly when you get home.”
In the future; Community Service for traffic offenders, public drunkenness, shoplifters and other petty crimes can also put a dent in this issue.
What about all the freaking potholes throughout Lee county
Speaking of potholes, they are getting bad again at Riverbirch shopping center
Riverbirch’s poor road and parking lot and building conditions; are Namdar Realty Group’s responsibility…
Trash piled up along the roadside for city pickup is unsightly too!
I agree with all of the above…
People need to have more love for their county
Should be fined with throwing trash out in parking lots and on road ways
I’ve seen people to it , it’s very disappointing and disheartening…
We can do better as a community….
I drive from Greensboro to Sanford weekly on 421; I am saddened by the appearance of the stretch of 421 (Boone Trail) as I approach the city. A major gateway into Sanford should not be marred by the amount of roadside trash that has accumulated in recent months. Great news that this is going to be addressed! The roadside trash evident in the past year here in Guilford County is an issue also, but hopefully the recent commitment by state and local municipalities will help with this issue…
Very Sad humans cannot take care of there own trash. What does it say about the people who live or drive through that they think it is ok and acceptable to throw trash any where they want. How would you like people to throw trash out in your house, car, yard where you live? We all live here treat it with respect. what are you teaching your children when they see you throw your trash anywhere. It is someone else property does not mean you can just dump your trash on them. EVERYONE take care of your own TRASH. Be responsible human being. Also that way we don/t hurt the animals that might try and eat the trash or get caught in the trash.