MARION, Ill. (WSIL) – Williamson County leaders say they need residents’ help to reduce a growing litter problem.
County Commissioner Brent Gentry held a press conference Monday morning and showed pictures of litter on roads and houses in poor condition.
Gentry also mentioned a video he posted on Facebook last week showing two women throwing a couch into a ditch near the county highway department.
“Our highway department is constantly picking up items along this route and removing them from their daily work for the citizens of this county,” Gentry said.
Gentry says the problem is getting worse and will impact not only the residents in question, but also their neighbors.
“But you live next door to them, it’s a nice house, and your value goes up because of them,” Gentry said. “How is that fair to someone?”
State Attorney Marcy Cascio-Hale suggested a three-point plan for residents to follow to help: pick up, participate and sue.
“Take out your phone. Take the license plate. Check who the driver is, but be careful and be smart,” Cascio-Hale said.
Residents of unincorporated parts of the county face fines for littering. The first offense is $250, the second is $500 and the third is $750.
Sheriff Bennie Vick says it will take a community to get this problem under control.
“We need public input. We need their eyes and ears to report back to us so we can investigate and if we get enough evidence we can cite someone for that,” Vick said. .
Gentry is also concerned about children living in homes full of trash or in dilapidated condition. He hopes residents will “wake up” and help bring the problem under control.
“I’m not a quitter, but I know this: that the people who live here have to step up and help or we’re never going anywhere,” Gentry said.
People can help with cleanup efforts next month. CLEAN SoIL is looking for groups and businesses to help clean up a 44-mile stretch of Highway 13 between Murphysboro and Harrisburg.
The event takes place on September 17. Groups can call Rex at 618-967-6442 or Melinda at 618-841-7948 to find out how to volunteer.
The group will focus its efforts on Route 148 in October, Route 34 in November. Next spring, the group plans to clean up Route 51 and Route 37.