Whitesburg KY

Advising people who litter that they will be prosecuted

To the Editor:

This letter is written to advise the public that the County Attorney’s Office recognizes the serious problem we have with litter in Letcher County and to assure you that we will actively prosecute the individuals who litter if we have evidence to bring to a jury.

KRS 512.070 Criminal Littering

(1) A person is guilty of criminal littering when he:

(b) Knowingly places or throws litter on any public or private property or in any public or private water without permission;

(2) Criminal littering is a class A misdemeanor.

KRS 512.020 (1) defines litter as follows:

“Litter” means rubbish, refuse, waste material, offal, paper, glass, cans, bottles, trash, debris or any foreign substance of whatever kind of description and whether or not it is of value.

KRS 433.753 Criminal littering on public highway; rewards for information

(1) When any paper, waste material, litter or other refuse is thrown or dropped from a motor vehicle, the operator thereof shall be deemed prima facie to be guilty of criminal littering.

What this means is that if the individuals who throw the beer cans, the pop cans, the plastic bottles, the paper bags, the meal containers and other trash onto the roadways of Letcher County are convicted they can and will be fined up to $500.00 and be imprisoned for up to one year.

Throwing litter onto the roadways of our beautiful county is a serious crime. Even more discouraging is the reality that those who throw litter from their cars do not appreciate the lack of respect they show for themselves and for everyone else traveling our roads.

There is a social cost in that everyone’s life is less than it could be because we have to look at ugly, disrespectful, sorry litter (garbage). There is an economic cost in that the litter must be removed. Men and women have to be paid to pick up after adults who intentionally break the law and show a total lack of pride in our beautiful mountains.

This attitude must change.

When I was growing up, there was much less traffic, no fast food restaurants and no convenience stores. The beer cans rusted and there were no plastic containers. We picked up the glass bottles for deposit. Yet, even then, there was an obvious public consciousness about the detrimental effects of litter. Remember the slogan, “Don’t be a litter bug ’cause every litter bit hurts.” We had signs that warned of the penalties of littering. We had teachers that taught us that littering was something that socially responsible children and adults do not do or tolerate. Back then we did not have the advantage of county-wide garbage pickup. We do now and we must use it.

There is much talk about tourism having great promise for economic development in our area. This seems very reasonable considering our natural beauty, our hiking trails, our friendly people, our central location and reasonable roads. Are tourists going to be impressed with litter? More importantly, are they going to come back and are they going to tell their friends to come? They will be impressed but not in a positive way.

I do not know who the individuals are that litter. No right thinking person will litter. I do not think any of my family, friends or acquaintances litter. I encourage any right thinking person who cares anything about the area or your family to do whatever is in your power to encourage others not to litter. Children, talk to your parents.

To me it seems so simple to put your litter in a bag until you get home and then put it in the garbage can where it belongs. All the service stations and restaurants have trash cans that make it easy to clean out our cars when we fill up our tanks and/or our bellies. Our litter and garbage must end up in the landfill not on the sides of the roads. If it does not, we are all to blame for sitting back and allowing it to happen.

JAMES A. HUBBARD Assistant Letcher County Attorney Whitesburg

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