By BOB PALMER
Jimplecute News Editor
You can see it just about everywhere you drive in Marion County.
A sack of household trash appears pitched into a ditch beside a rural road.
Pieces of furniture can be spotted along highways.
If you haven’t noticed the litter, Marion County’s two constables, David Capps and Tashia Wilson certainly have.
“One area is not worse than others,” Capps said. “It’s all over the county.” He did note remote roads do appear to receive more than their fair share of garbage.
In Precinct 2, Wilson knows of one area to watch.
“The worst part in my precinct is a little area where people from Louisiana are coming in and dumping trash,” Wilson said. “There is a back way you can go to Louisiana.”.Both constables agree enforcement may be difficult but not impossible.
“In my precinct it is not as bad as it used to be,” Wilson said. “I started to enforce it. My constituents would go through the trash and find information for me before I could get out there.”
Capps also noted the efforts of local volunteers.
“We do have volunteers who walk up and down the road,” Capps said. “They pick up trash on their own and they find these things and they will call it in.”
Discovering who dumped the trash may be messy, but can find leads in the culprit’s trash.
“If we find trash bags we’ll go through them and find out who it belongs to and track down those people,” Capps said.
Furniture is a different story.
“On furniture it’s hard to find out whose it is,” Capps said. “You need someone who has seen them throw it out. Most of the time there aren’t any witnesses.”
Wilson said the penalty can be severe if the offender is caught. “It usually is a $500 fine,” Wilson said. ”They are issued a citation and they have to go before the judge.” Wilson made it clear she finds the offense offensive.
“I think it makes the area look filthy,” Wilson said. “I don’t like it. I can’t tolerate it.” Capps observed the problem was larger than just Marion County. “It’s kind of state-wide,” Capps said.
Nearly a half-billion pieces of visible litter pile up along state-maintained highways each year, costing taxpayers $35 million to clean up, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Small trash, including napkins, fast food wrappers and cigarette butts make up 70 percent of the litter found along Texas roads.
With the state’s population rapidly growing, the “Don’t mess with Texas” campaign reminds new and long-time Texans that littering not only is unsightly, but also is unlawful. Fines for littering range from $500 to $2,000.
According to a survey conducted by the anti-litter campaign, some Texans haven’t gotten the word.
About a third of Texas residents still admitted to littering in the past month, with millennials (16-34) having a much higher incidence of littering compared to older adults.
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