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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Ocala resident discusses litter problem in Marion County

To the Editor:

Good or bad, it is a fact that there is tremendous growth in Ocala and Marion County. It is bad, and also a fact, that there is a serious litter problem.

As the population grows, the litter problem needs to be addressed now. Do we want to see double or even triple the amount of litter that is already lining the streets? Nobody likes to see litter and it is especially disheartening when it is a part of our naturally beautiful landscape.

The following suggestions are derived from my personal observations. At the very least, it is my hope that this will begin a conversation on finding solutions to our litter problem.

My first suggestion is that every business should be required to inspect and clean their grounds for litter at least once a week, or some designated and agreed upon time frame, or be subject to fines.

With all of the new construction, a lot of debris gets blown off the construction sites. There needs to be better accountability from the developers. My next suggestion is for building sites to either cover their overfilled dumpsters in order to prevent the debris from blowing away or provide additional dumpsters. The developers would be subject to fine or tax for not providing preventive measures for construction-related litter.

Another suggestion is to start an anti-litter campaign on the various billboards, radio stations, newspapers, and social media. Display anti-litter slogans on public garbage cans such as “Pitch In” or “Don’t be a Litterbug.” We need to remind the community to not litter. Those that knowingly litter can be subject to fines or community service that involves litter clean up.

A final suggestion is to provide garbage bags with barcodes. The barcodes could be associated with a person or an address. The scanned garbage bag can be given a value, such as points, money, or gift cards (monies applied from fines). Panhandlers and others can make use of their time and earn money this way, or it can be a way for a charity to earn money.

The bags can be left on the side of the road for easy collection, by city or county employees, or dropped off at a designated location. Also, for safety and high visibility, the bags can be bright orange, green, or yellow, so it is easily identifiable for designated pick up.

Keep Ocala and Marion County Beautiful.

Laura Burland
Ocala resident

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